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Oliveira ousts Quartararo on Day 1 at the Sachsenring
The Catalan GP winner remains the man to beat in Germany as he finishes Friday first to deny Yamaha
Friday, 18 June 2021
New week, same speed: Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) remains the fastest man in MotoGP™ only a few days after his Catalan GP win, with the Portuguese rider topping the timesheets on Day 1 of the Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland. Around half a second off the outright lap record, Oliveira escaped Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) by a couple of tenths to take to the top, with Maverick Viñales making it two Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP machines in the top three on Friday as he ended FP2 within a tenth of his teammate.
The day started with a very familiar name at the top of the Sachsenring timesheets: Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). The Spaniard is undefeated at the venue in the premier class plus a few years before that, and he was quick out the blocks before also stringing together a longer run of laps. Second was Quartararo, who also took a fast tumble – rider ok – at Turn 12 before moving back to within 0.168 off Marquez. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) started the event a tenth further back in third, ahead of another Honda: Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team). The number 44 also crashed at Turn 2, rider ok. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) completed the top five, less than half a tenth in further arrears.
The other crasher in FP1 was the first: Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing). The Spaniard went down at Turn 12, rider ok.
In the afternoon, everyone improved and Miguel Oliveira took over at the top. The Catalan GP winner went more than 1.6 seconds quicker than his morning best, and just under a second quicker than Marc Marquez’ FP1 fastest lap, to head the timesheets in the session. He had two tenths in hand over Quartararo, who was second once again, with Viñales moving up from tenth in FP1 to complete the top three.
Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) stole some headlines in fourth, the Spaniard impressing despite his wrist injury sustained ahead of Barcelona, ending the day top Suzuki and just under four tenths off the top. Pol Espargaro, Nakagami and Aleix Espargaro also impressed again, taking fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively. Marc Marquez, meanwhile, was shuffled down to outside the top ten.
Luca Marini (Sky VR46 Avintia) crashed first at Turn 13 and then at Turn 7, rider ok, and Pol Espargaro had his second crash of the day at Turn 4. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) also slid out; the ‘Doctor’ at Turn 1.
FP2 timesheets are the combined timesheets, so it’s Oliveira, Quartararo, Viñales, Rins, Pol Espargaro, Nakagami and Aleix Espargaro in the top seven. Next up is a Ducati duo as Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) pipped Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) to P8 by just 0.011, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) completing the top ten.
Danilo Petrucci (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing), who now has the updates seen on the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machines of Oliveira and teammate Brad Binder, took P11 by the end of play and is the first man set to miss out on Q2 as it stands, with Marc Marquez ultimately ending the day in 12th by just 0.009. The eight-time World Champion said he’d expected to find himself in slightly better shape at the track but also didn’t push for a time attack.
Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) was even closer to the rider ahead – Marc Marquez – by the end of the day. Just 0.002 split the two as the younger Marquez slots into P13. With the track not featuring on the 2020 calendar, the day was the first taste of the Sachsenring in MotoGP™ for more than just the 2021 rookies. Alex Marquez was the fastest of those who haven’t raced the track before in the premier class.
Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) was a tenth further back in P14, with Brad Binder completing the fastest fifteen on Friday ahead of reigning Champion Joan Mir.
Rossi ended Friday in P21, with a compatriot for company just behind him: Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team). The number 63 was last on the timesheets and, although he didn’t push for a fast lap on soft tyres, will be looking for a lot more on Saturday morning as FP3 gets underway – as will the likes of Marc Marquez and Joan Mir.
That’s it from Day 1. FP3 starts at 9:55 (GMT +2) on Saturday to decide those going straight through to Q2, before qualifying begins at 14:10.
Jack Miller ends Friday of the German GP in ninth place. Bagnaia closes twenty-second.
Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia closed respectively with the 9th and 22nd time overall the first day of free practices of the German GP, the eighth round of the 2021 MotoGP World Championship, scheduled for this Sunday at the Sachsenring, near Chemnitz.
During today’s first two sessions, which were characterised by clear skies and scorching temperatures, the Ducati Lenovo Team riders were able to get to grips with the twisty Saxon racetrack – which had not been present on the 2020 Calendar – working mainly on the setup of their Desmosedici GP bikes ahead of Sunday’s race.
Sixth, at the end of FP1 this morning, Miller was able to lap under the 1:22 in this afternoon session, stopping the clock at 1:21.192 and finishing ninth overall, 502 thousandths off the top of the timesheets. Bagnaia (1:22.211) closed 22nd today, as he worked with the main focus on the tyre wear, an aspect that could prove to be decisive in Sunday’s 30-lap race. Despite the position, the Italian rider was satisfied with the work done with his team today and will try his time attack in tomorrow morning’s FP3 session.
Jack Miller (#43 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 9th (1:21.192)
“My feeling with the bike is good, and I’m pretty satisfied with the work done today. We tried all the available tyres except for the soft and made a time attack with the medium in the final minutes of FP2. I think I already have a clear idea of what we will use in the race on Sunday. We are working mainly on the setup to make the bike more stable in the last two sectors, where we are not yet as strong as in the first two. Overall, I’m positive and happy with how the weekend is going so far.”
Francesco Bagnaia (#63 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 22nd (1:22.211)
“It was a productive day. We focused mainly on finding the right setup for the bike to limit tyre wear and get a good pace for the race. I am pretty satisfied with the work we have done in the two sessions today. For sure, it will be important to take another step forward ahead of tomorrow morning’s FP3, where we will also try our time attack to secure a spot directly into Q2”.
Tomorrow, at 9:55 am, the Ducati Lenovo Team will be back on track for the third free practice session before heading into qualifying for the German GP starting at 2:10 pm local time, at the end of FP4.
The opening day of the GermanGP, which saw PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team’s MotoGP riders on track at Sachsenring for the first time since 2019, ended with Franco Morbidelli tenth and Valentino Rossi 21st.
Taking time to get back up to speed around the Sachsenring track, Morbidelli had a steady start to FP1. He ended the session 14th with a time of 1min 22.381secs, after having his final flying lap deleted for exceeding track limits. Further improvements for Franco came in the hot conditions of FP2, where track temperatures almost reached 53C. The Italian was able to round out the session, and the day, just inside the top-ten with a 1min 21.228secs lap.
Team-mate Rossi also used FP1 to reacquaint himself with the German circuit, but steadily improved throughout the session. Posting a 1min 22.691secs lap, he ended the session 20th on the timing screens. The second half of the Italian’s FP2 session was briefly interrupted by a Turn 1 crash, but he was able to get back out on track moments later. Using his second bike to record a 1min 21.968secs lap, Valentino ended both the session and the day 21st.
Tomorrow’s FP3 session for Morbidelli and Rossi will get underway at 9.55am local time (3.55pm MYT), with the first of the two MotoGP Qualifying sessions due to begin at 2.10pm local time (8.10pm MYT).
It has been a good first day and we managed to get into the top-ten, which is an important thing. Although I think the lap time will need to be a bit faster to get into Q2. Today we were fast enough to do it and I felt good with the bike, we didn’t have any problems, so I’m happy about that. Of course there are things that could be better here and there, which we will do our best to try to improve, but it’s only the first day here. We are looking at some combinations of settings at the moment, to give ourselves the best bike setup that we possibly can. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.
It’s been difficult today because it’s been very hot. In FP2 this afternoon we also tried the harder tyre to try to understand what it’s like. My second run was not too bad because my pace was quite good but in the end I unfortunately had a small crash, and it made me lose some confidence. This also meant that I had to change bike for the time attack, so my fast lap was not fantastic – plus I also made a mistake in the fourth sector. I am losing some time in sector three, so we need to look at this to find the best setting for tomorrow. It’s difficult to predict what will happen this weekend, as it is only Friday, but we will try our best.
TAKA WELL PLACED AFTER DAY ONE
18 June 2021 | German GP Practice
Takaaki Nakagami made an impressive start as free practice for the German Grand Prix got underway, finishing the day in 6th osition overall on the timesheets. The LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider had good rhythm throughout as the improvements found during testing in Catalunya paid dividends at the Sachsenring.
The Japanese star laid down a marker in a Honda-dominated FP1 as he went third quickest, with HRC rider Marc Marquez setting the pace. Taka then improved by eight tenths in FP2 to remain among the frontrunners and will now look to maintain his form tomorrow to ensure automatic qualification for Q2.
Takaaki Nakagami – 6th
“Today was a really good start to the German GP and a good day for us. We were P3 in FP1 and this afternoon we were able to be in the top six. We have a good feeling on the bike and good pace already. In sector one I need to improve as that’s the only place I’m not able to make a good speed, but in all the rest we’re in good shape. Tomorrow I’ll be focusing on improving in sector one and, if we can do that, we have a chance of maybe staying in the top three. That’s the target for tomorrow and I’m looking forward to the qualifying session.”
Marquez and Espargaro on the pace from the start of the German GP
Strong laps from Pol Espargaro saw the Repsol Honda Team rider constantly challenging for the top five while Marc Marquez put together a busy and informative day after topping FP1.
There was almost nowhere to hide as the sun beat down at the Sachsenring circuit, the German summer in full effect as the eighth round of the 2021 World Championship season began on Friday. At the ambient temperature continued creeping above 30°C, the track temperature quickly found itself above 50°C for the second session of the day.
With 10 straight-wins at the German circuit from his ten previous visits, all eyes were on Marc Marquez as the field headed out for FP1. They didn’t have to wait long as on just his fourth lap Marquez went fastest with a 1’21.660 – a time which would see him go unchallenged for the entirety of the first session. Marquez was looking equally strong in Free Practice 2, holding his position in the upper echelon of the timing tower until a flurry of late laps moved him down the order as he opted not to fit a new tyre. Ending the day in 12th overall, Marquez is pleased with what he and the Repsol Honda Team have managed to learn today as they keep their focus on the future.
Pol Espargaro was eager to try the Honda RC213V around the Sachsenring, the Honda machine having classically gone well around the German circuit. From FP1, Espargaro was immediately on the pace and ended the morning session in fourth, only 0.350s from his team-mate. Finding a further 0.9s in Free Practice 2, Espargaro kept his position in the top five to end the day fifth overall. Turn 3 proved to be a problematic corner for Pol Espargaro, falling once in Free Practice 1 and again early in Free Practice 2 at the downhill right-hand bend. Both times he walked away unharmed.
With conditions predicted to be similar on Saturday morning, it’s looking set to be another intense battle for the top ten. Free Practice 3 starts at 09:55 Local Time.
“Crashing was not part of the plan, but I am trying to find the limit now, rather than in the race. We are figuring it out but Turn 3 is causing some problems at the moment and this is why I fell there. Over one lap we are quite good, but the crashes meant we couldn’t really do as long a run today as we had hoped. It was a bit of a messy day honestly, but we have the speed here. Tomorrow we need a smoother day, less crashes and more in control. The bike is working well here this weekend.”
“Here I feel less physical limitations, honestly I was expecting zero problems but I still don’t think I am riding at my best. I can manage it and we have a good pace at the moment but for sure a focus for tomorrow is working on riding style. I didn’t put a new tyre at the end, I spoke with the team as I didn’t feel like I had the energy to do it. We are working to understand many things with the bike when it’s working well here. Our pace is looking good but it’s not the best on track at the moment.”
YET ANOTHER SOLID FRIDAY FOR ALEIX AND APRILIA
LORENZO DISCOVERING THE SECRETS OF THE SACHSENRING
The 52 degrees Celsius on the asphalt (31°C air temps) did not keep the MotoGP riders from doing some interesting times already on the first day of practice at the Sachsenring. The hilly German track was the setting for yet another solid Friday for Aleix Espargaró, who has by now become a fixture in the top part of the rankings with his Aprilia RS-GP.
With an eye to race preparation, the Spanish rider still managed to take seventh in the combined standings. He also demonstrated an outstanding pace, fundamental in view of the 30 laps scheduled for Sunday.
For Lorenzo Savadori, the Sachsenring is basically a brand new track since his references during his 125 and MotoE career don’t count for much. It is certainly not an easy layout, but Lorenzo tackled it gradually, improving more than 7 tenths between the two sessions and limiting the gap behind the lead to just over one second.
“I know it may seem strange, given the final position, but I think this was the best Friday of the season so far. I felt good straight away. I’m able to be fast without taking excessive risks and the grip helps us, significantly higher than it was in Barcelona. I didn’t put together a perfect performance on my flying lap, but I’m competitive in terms of pace. This will be a track where the tyres will be highly stressed, also because of the weather conditions, so working well on that aspect is important.”
“I liked coming back to this track. The last time I raced here was in 2019 with the MotoE bike. Clearly, everything changes with a MotoGP bike. The track gets a lot smaller, but I must say that I had fun. We worked a lot with used tyres. We need to improve the second stage of the race because in Barcelona that was a limiting factor for us again. When I put on the new tyre, I did two decent laps, but I think that our potential is higher. We are still lacking a bit, especially on T2, but I continue to improve and, for now, that is still the main objective.”
Tech 3 KTM
Petrucci and Lecuona get German GP off a decent start
Sachsenring Circuit welcomed the MotoGP World Championship with hot conditions for the eighth round of the 2021 season. Thereby, Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Danilo Petrucci delivered a good performance aboard his KTM RC16, improving though the increased temperatures from FP1 to FP2 by 1.364 seconds and finishing Friday just 0.054 seconds off the provisional direct Q2 spots while moving up from P18 to 11th.
At the same time, Iker Lecuona had his first attempt at the shortest track of the calendar on a MotoGP machine. He lowered his lap time from this morning by 1.16 seconds in the afternoon to eventually conclude the opening day in 17th position. The young Spaniard was missing out on his teammate by only 0.286 seconds.
“I’m really happy about the feeling I have with the bike here. It was maybe the first session, in which I felt strong and I was always very confident. We did some steps and it works, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I think if we do everything in a perfect way, we can make it to the top 10, which would be a very good target for us.”
Petrucci – 2021
Petrucci – 2021
“Finally, it was a quite ok day. We have been working well with the team and improved from FP1 to FP2. We are still far from the top, but in some places of the track I feel really good. We need to check the data now and we are aware of the way we need to follow, so I feel we have the potential to recover the gap tomorrow morning and to fight for the Q2.”
RINS RETURNS IN GOOD FORM AFTER INJURY, MIR AIMS FOR MORE
GermanGP Day 1:
Alex Rins: 4th – 1’21.077 (+ 0.387)
Joan Mir: 16th – 1’21.453 (+ 0.763)
The opening day of the German Grand Prix at Sachsenring circuit saw both Team Suzuki Ecstar’s riders on track as Alex Rins made his return from injury.
FP1 was an important session for the pair as they immediately got to work setting up their GSX-RRs around the technical track in Saxony. Rins made a cautious and tentative start, ensuring that his recently operated wrist was feeling OK under braking and cornering. He reported back good feelings at the end of the session and he managed to get into a strong 7th place. Meanwhile Joan Mir slotted into 9th in the close session which saw the Top 20 covered by 1 second.
Extremely hot temperatures were the order of the afternoon, with track temperatures in FP2 reaching 55 degrees Celsius. Despite of this, the lap times were improved compared to the morning session, and Suzuki’s riders were keen to up their pace accordingly. Alex Rins once again showed that he is capable of some very quick laps around the German track, and in his last flying laps he managed to secure a good 4th place. The entire MotoGP field were once again highly competitive, with 7 tenths of a second covering the Top 16. Despite a couple of good laps, Joan could not drop below a 1’21.453 which left him 16th.
“I’m happy because I’ve completed my programme today, and tomorrow will be a similar plan. I’m satisfied with 4th, and tonight I will take some painkillers and try to rest a bit to be ready for tomorrow.”- Alex Rins
“This is a track that I like, and I’m not feeling bad with my arm. I’m pleased with my position today, even if I lack a bit of consistency in lap times I am quite fast. I have a bit of pain in Turn 3 because it’s a long right-handed corner then there’s a quick change of direction. I also feel it on the brakes in Turn 1 and Turn 12, but in general this track has a lot of left-handed corners which maybe helps me a bit, although in MotoGP we’re always using our right hand for the throttle and brakes! I’m happy because I’ve completed my programme today, and tomorrow will be a similar plan. I’m satisfied with 4th, and tonight I will take some painkillers and try to rest a bit to be ready for tomorrow.”
“I’m not happy about today, we still have a lot of work to do because my feelings with the bike weren’t good, especially in FP2. We have a margin to improve and we need to figure it out overnight, but I feel quite calm anyway because I know we can be stronger. I didn’t have a good feeling with the bike overall, but especially with the grip – these hot temperatures make everything slippery and I felt better in the cooler conditions. I did my time attack with medium front tyre, and I think I should’ve used the hard because I feel better with that. I didn’t have much confidence with the front so I couldn’t really push. Once we’ve checked everything we can try to piece it all together in FP3 so that we’re prepared for qualifying.”
“I didn’t have a good feeling with the bike overall, but especially with the grip – these hot temperatures make everything slippery and I felt better in the cooler conditions.”- Joan Mir
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager
“This is a track with a tricky layout, and especially with these high temperatures it makes everything more complicated. It’s important to check the tyre durability and at the end of FP2 everybody tried the soft tyre for the time attack and the times dropped. Alex did a very good job despite his injury, he ended 4th and I’m happy for him. Joan missed a little bit luck and he ended up 16th, which is a pity because we know he can have good pace. But we will work hard overnight to help him by checking the data carefully and tomorrow we will try again to prepare for the race.”
LIQUI MOLY MOTORRAD GRAND PRIX DEUTSCHLAND – Combined Classification after DAY1
1. M. OLIVEIRA – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 01:20.690
2. F. QUARTARARO – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 01:20.910 +0.220
3. M. VIÑALES – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 01:21.023 +0.333
4. A. RINS – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 01:21.077 +0.387
5. P. ESPARGARO – Repsol Honda Team – 01:21.108 +0.418
6. T. NAKAGAMI – LCR Honda IDEMITSU – 01:21.131 +0.441
7. A. ESPARGARO – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 01:21.143 +0.453
8. J. ZARCO – Pramac Racing – 01:21.181 +0.491
9. J. MILLER – Ducati Lenovo Team – 01:21.192 +0.502
10. F. MORBIDELLI – Petronas Yamaha SRT – 01:21.228 +0.538
11. D. PETRUCCI – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing – 01:21.282 +0.592
12. M. MARQUEZ – Repsol Honda Team – 01:21.291 +0.601
13. A. MARQUEZ – LCR Honda CASTROL – 01:21.293 +0.603
14. J. MARTIN – Pramac Racing – 01:21.398 +0.708
15. B. BINDER – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 01:21.426 +0.736
16. J. MIR – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 01:21.453 +0.763
17. I. LECUONA – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing – 01:21.568 +0.878
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team started the Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at the Sachsenring circuit today in tropical temperatures. Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Viñales got a good number of laps in during FP1 and continued to up their speed in FP2, finishing in second and third place respectively in the combined free practice timesheets.
Quartararo had a bit of a rugged start to the German GP. He had a crash ten minutes into FP1 in Turn 12, but he was still able to find a good pace in the first session of the Sachsenring round. Once back aboard his YZR-M1 he had no problem clocking a 1‘21.828s on lap 13/20 to secure second position, 0.168s off the best time.
The Frenchman was eager to show the same strong pace in the afternoon. He spent the majority of the available time preparing for Sunday’s race before kicking up the pace another notch in the mini time attack at the end of FP2. On his final run, he set a 1‘20.910s on his penultimate lap to take second place in the FP2 and the combined timesheets, 0.220s from the top.
Following the positive Catalan Test, Viñales was motivated to find a competitive setting on German soil in the morning session and soon positioned himself inside the top 5. He kept working on the balance of his bike and showed the progress he had made when setting a 1‘22.253s on lap 14/25. He ended the session in tenth place, 0.593s from first.
Top Gun continued building positive feelings at the Sachsenring in FP2. He focused on fine-tuning his bike‘s settings, knowing full well that the pace would quicken in the final stages of the session. During his usual mini time-attack, the Yamaha man showed confidence, setting a 1‘21.023s. He ended the day in third place, 0.333s from the front, both in the FP2 and the overall Friday Sachsenring results.
We had an unexpected start to the weekend with Fabio’s early crash in FP1. He crashed at the fastest part of the track, and unfortunately the bike was pretty much destroyed. Thankfully the mechanics of our team all worked together and were able to build basically a completely new bike for him between FP1 and FP2. They did a really good job. Maverick was looking to better the balance of his bike to improve the rear. Meanwhile, Fabio was focusing on preparing for the race. Over FP1 and FP2 he completed the race distance on medium-medium tyres, adjusting the settings of both the chassis and the electronics on each run. We also aim to have made a comparison between all tyre options by tomorrow. The extremely hot conditions add an extra challenge because they make tyre management more difficult. Five minutes to the end of FP2 we managed to do a time attack, with both riders finishing in the top 3. We are quite satisfied with today’s results, but we also know that we have a lot of work ahead of us to be ready for Sunday.
I didn‘t feel great with the front tyre this morning and we saw that quite clearly. I crashed straight away. But anyway, I feel good and I‘m on the pace. We had more than 30 laps in total on the tyre in FP2, so that was mentally challenging. I was counting to myself, ‘17, 18, 19‘. I thought, ’Okay, I know that I have old tyres.‘ The time attack after that was a little strange, because you switch from a medium with 30 laps to a brand new soft. That‘s totally different. I didn‘t use all the potential of the soft, but in general I feel happy. I don‘t feel as good with the bike as I usually do, but we are working on it for tomorrow. I would really like to get pole, but first I need to stay calm and work on the pace. Then qualifying for me is like a game. It‘s an important part to prepare for the race, but the most important part for me is to have fun in tomorrow‘s Q2.
It‘s been a positive Friday. I‘m happy because the work done in Montmeló is now paying off. I have such a good feeling with the front, which was something that we were looking for. Normally we struggle a bit in this area, and then I lose confidence. With Silvano we worked a lot with the front, and it‘s starting to get much better. But, you know, when you focus a lot on improving one specific area you can lose out a bit in another. So, right now we are trying to find a good balance on the bike and try to build it up. I think it was important to be inside the top 3 today. That‘s always nice, also for the team. We will try to keep going with a lot of motivation.