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The number 99 heads the Friday timesheets, and on what’s traditionally been Honda turf
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) ripped up the Honda-drenched formbook on Day 1 at the Pramac Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, taking Ducati to the top of the timesheets near the end of FP2 to set a 1:20.885 – only half a second outside the best pole position at the track, set by ‘King of the Ring’ Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) in 2015. Lorenzo left it late to top the provisional Q2 graduates, and was joined in the upper echelons by Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing), who was two and a half tenths back, and Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar), who was another 0.062 in arrears. Iannone was the fastest man in FP1, too, on a close day that saw 18 riders within a second.
It was a first day characterised by surprisingly pleasant weather and some surprises on the timesheets – some key headlines from which saw Marquez, winner and polesitter for the last eight years, in fifth and teammate Pedrosa just inside the top twenty. Pedrosa, who announced his retirement at the end of 2018 on Thursday, is the man who won three in a row at the venue before Marquez’ roll began – making Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) the last non-Repsol Honda rider to take to the top step at the venue in 2009 and Rossi was another headline, ending Friday in P17.
Back at the top behind Lorenzo, Petrucci and Iannone, it was another Ducati machine in fourth as Borgo Panigale dominated the day, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) in close company, and only 0.040 ahead of Marquez as it tightened up. The gaps didn’t get any bigger going further down the timesheets either, with top Yamaha Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) taking sixth and by only 0.035 – no mean feat given the position of his fellow Iwata marque machinery: Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was in P16 and 0.007 ahead of Rossi, with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) 0.003 off the Italian in P18.
Takaaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was another headline on Day 1 as the Japanese rider took P7 after a slew of impressive laps. Traditionally a Honda hunting ground, the LCR rider was the fastest rookie by a long shot on Friday, impressing to gain provisional entry to Q2. He was just ahead of Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing), riding a Ducati at the venue for the first time, and LCR Honda Castrol’s Cal Crutchlow, a former podium finisher at the Sachsenring.
Alvaro Bautista completed the top ten on combined times for the Angel Nieto Team, with the Spaniard’s recent run of form remaining with him in Germany. He beat Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) to provisional Q2 entry, with Rins looking to move forward in FP3.¡ after his best ever MotoGP™ finish last time out at Assen.
Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) took P12 as top KTM, ahead of his brother and top Aprilia Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini). Bradley Smith on the second KTM took P14, with the top fifteen completed by Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing), who was a crasher in FP1. Mika Kallio was another who crashed on Day 1, but this time in FP2 as the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing wildcard took a tumble.
Speaking of wildcards, one man on to make an appearance as one after the summer break in Brno is Stefan Bradl, but the German is back on track earlier than expected after getting a call up to ride for EG 0,0 Marc VDS this weekend. The HRC test rider took over for FP2 in place of the injured Franco Morbidelli, who damaged his hand in a crash at Assen, and Bradl’s best put him only a tenth and a half off Pedrosa.
Come back for more on Saturday for FP3 from 9:55 (GMT +2) and qualifying from 14:10.
Ducati Team riders get off to a good start in the German Grand Prix, with Jorge Lorenzo first and Andrea Dovizioso fourth on the opening day of practice at the Sachsenring
The German Grand Prix weekend got off to a positive start for both Ducati Team riders at the Sachsenring. After two free practice sessions at the German circuit, Jorge Lorenzo ended the day at the top of the timesheets with a fastest lap of 1’20.885 while his team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was classified fourth with a time of 1’21.309.
There were five Ducati riders in the top 10 today, with Lorenzo and Dovizioso joined in the leading positions by Danilo Petrucci (second) and Jack Miller (eighth) with the Pramac Racing Desmosedici machines and Alvaro Bautista tenth for the Angel Nieto Team.
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99): 1st (1’20.885)
“I’m very pleased with the way this first day went, especially because we made a big step forward and the bike improved a lot between FP1 and FP2. To be in first place and demonstrate that you are competitive is important, but we know that Marquez looks as if he has something a bit extra and he is the favourite for Sunday. Tomorrow we’ll try and continue this progress with the aim of getting a front row start for the race. In any case at the moment we’re much better off than last year and this is good news.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04): 4th (1’21.309)
“It has been a positive first day: we were quick both in the morning and this afternoon, and this is vital to be able to focus on the details during the weekend. I’m still not entirely satisfied with a few little things, but I think that we can improve them tomorrow. At the moment Marquez is the quickest man out there for pace, but there are a few Ducati riders who have good speed and so our base is a good one. Even though we are quick, we’ll continue to work on our pace because on Sunday the race will be held over 30 laps. At any rate, we went very well today for the first day.”
MOVISTAR YAMAHA SEEK GRIP IN SACHSENRING FRIDAY FREE PRACTICE SESSIONS
The Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland got underway on the Sachsenring track today with the first two free practice sessions ahead of Sunday’s race. Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi enjoyed a good start to the weekend but didn‘t have the same feeling in the afternoon. They concluded the day in 6th and 17th place respectively in the combined standings.
Sachsenring (Germany), 13th July 2018
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team kicked off the Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland today with mixed results. Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi showed great speed in the morning free practice session but weren‘t able to book the amount of progress they intended to make in the afternoon. They wrapped up Day 1 in 6th and 17th place respectively in the combined standings.
Viñales was quick to head out on track at the start of FP1. It wasn‘t long before he proved that the combination of the tight and mostly left-corner nature of the circuit and his smooth riding are a good match. He spurred on his Yamaha in the final stages and set a 1’22.152s for fourth place, 0.710s to first.
He again showed good form in the afternoon. Making full use of the sunny conditions at the Sachsenring circuit to test various set-up options, he secured provisional second place midway through FP2. The Spaniard held on to this spot until the times dropped in the final ten minutes. He posted a 1‘21.384s on his last lap as a response and finished in sixth place, 0.499s from the top.
Teammate Rossi was looking competitive in the morning. He maintained a quick pace throughout, holding a top-3 position for the majority of the session before the pace picked up in the final stages of FP1. He set a 1’21.964s on his final attempt, 0.522s from the front, and held on to third position after the chequered flag came out.
The Doctor continued working on his bike’s balance in the afternoon session, which ended with extremely close results. The Italian was unable to immediately reproduce the competitive feeling he had in the morning but continued to use every minute of FP2 to find a setting solution. He completed the day in 17th place, with a best lap of 1’21.784s, even though he was less than a second (0.899s) separated from the fastest time of the day.
Today’s results see Viñales secure 6th position in the combined free practice timesheets. Rossi will be looking to better his 17th place in tomorrow morning‘s FP3.
The first day was difficult. I’m really focused and pushing my hardest on every lap, but it looks like our bike changes between one track and another. Anyway, Sachsenring is a good track for me. I’m giving it my all, because I want to be at the front, but we still have a lot of things to improve. The track is slippery, so you need really good electronics. We are working really hard on that and I think that for tomorrow we have a lot of room for improvement.
We had a lot of problems here on acceleration. When we try to put power on the ground we spin the tyre a lot and we suffer, because when we lose acceleration we lose drive. We tried to do something about it this afternoon, but unfortunately we weren’t able to improve. We have to continue and try to be stronger tomorrow.
CRUTCHLOW TARGETS IMPROVEMENT IN GERMANY
PRESS RELEASE: 13 July 2018 | Sachsenring GP Day One
LCR Honda CASTROL rider Cal Crutchlow endured a demanding opening day of free practice at the German Grand Prix finishing the day in ninth position on the timesheets and ending up as the third fastest Honda in the field.
Although arriving in Germany on a consistent run of form, Crutchlow could find no rhythm during FP1 as he was only 19th fastest. The LCR man was not totally satisfied with his tyre options, but did make significant strides in FP2 as he moved up several places to claim a spot inside the top 10. But Cal remains confident there is considerable improvement to come on Saturday as he targets a place in the top five this weekend.
Cal Crutchlow – 9th
(1’21.540 – lap 22 of 23)
“I didn’t feel great today, we struggled to be honest. It’s Friday 13th, I never push on Friday 13th! The reality is that we weren’t going well, I didn’t really find a great set-up with the bike and (didn’t find) a very good rear grip. But that doesn’t mean that we won’t improve by tomorrow and we’re quietly confident that we have a trick up our sleeve to improve the bike”.
“I didn’t have a good feeling with the tyres and tomorrow we will have to select our race tyre from the allocation we have but also we have to improve our bike as a team. The last races have gone quite well and we’ve been pleased with our progress in the top six every week. But we need to make the podium. At the minute the podium doesn’t look great for this weekend, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try tomorrow and Sunday. Honestly speaking, I still think we can be in the top five.”
Busy opening day for Syahrin and Zarco in Germany
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 pair started their German Grand Prix campaigns today in good conditions. While MotoGP rookie Hafizh Syahrin had to learn the demanding Sachsenring circuit aboard the big machine, he improved steadily in the course of the day to eventually conclude Friday just 0.892 seconds behind the top of the ultra-competitive premier class field. Meanwhile, Johann Zarco began the weekend with a top 10 result in FP1 this morning and lowered his lap time by seven tenths during the second session today working towards the race on Sunday. Yet, the fast Frenchman needs to find some more time at the unique venue and bounce back in the standings tomorrow, starting with FP3 at 9.55 local time.
Position: 16th – Time: 1’21.777 – Laps: 44
“The first day here I felt really good. I’m here for the first time with the GP bike and especially in turn 11 we have to be really carefully as it’s the first right corner after many left ones. I wanted to try to understand everything on the first run. On my second run, I felt really good with the medium tyre. Afterwards I changed to soft, but I felt that I’m losing the front, especially when braking hard. We are very close, just 0.8 seconds. I try to give my best for tomorrow. I’m really happy with the first day and hope that we can improve a bit more on Saturday.”
Position: 18th – Time: 1’21.787 – Laps: 45
“The first day at Sachsenring started well and also finished quite well. We are working hard, because we do so many laps during the race and therefore, it’s truly important to feel comfortable. It’s a complicate track and I want to feel good on it. This morning the lap time was coming while riding easy, which made me happy. In the afternoon, we could improve and we didn’t put the new tyre in at the end, because we wanted to keep working for the race, so it’s necessary in FP3 tomorrow to push hard in order to go directly to Q2. What we did today, I think, brought us on a good way to have a successful race.”
FIRST DAY OF MOTOGP PRACTICE AT THE SACHSENRING
ALEIX JUST OUTSIDE THE TOP TEN, SCOTT IMPROVES AFTER A POSITIVE MORNING
First day of practice on the German Sachsenring circuit in view of the MotoGP race on Sunday. Despite some threatening clouds, the two sessions were held on dry asphalt. Both of the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini riders focused their work on the right tyre combination choice, a critical issue on the short and twisty Saxony track, both for the race and for qualifiers on Saturday.
Scott Redding had a positive morning practice session, finishing in ninth place. In the afternoon, all the riders improved and the fastest on the Italian team was Aleix, finishing thirteenth just 15 tenths outside the top ten. Getting into the top ten remains the top objective for Aleix who will have the FP3 session tomorrow to try to skip the first qualifying session and go straight through to Q2 with the best 12 riders.
Scott, although improving his time, finished 19th but had positive sensations in the second session as well.
“I am satisfied with the way we worked today. We focused on race pace. In the afternoon I did a 15 lap long run at a pace in the high 1’21s that I am happy about. Tomorrow morning the goal is to place the RS-GP in the top 10 to go straight through to the second qualifying session and I am confident that it is within our potential. On this track, starting from the front three rows is fundamental, given the difficulty overtaking here.”
“It’s nice to be in certain positions, like in FP1 today. At the beginning, I didn’t have the right tyres, but I expected that so it didn’t worry me. In fact, once I had changed them, I took a significant step forward straight away. In both sessions we worked mainly on the right tyre combination choice, which makes the difference here. Overall, I felt good. I feel at ease on the bike and in the afternoon I could even have improved the time more.”
Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland
MotoGP 2018 Round 9
Repsol Honda begin action at Sachsenring with mixed results
Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa put in their first laps on the opening day of the German GP with mixed results.
The Championship leader showed a very consistent pace in both free-practice sessions, focusing on the race setup of his RC213V. Marc finished fifth in the combined classification after a lengthy stint at the top of the FP2 session.
Dani, on the other hand, was unable to sort out some issues he had with his bike’s suspension setting and ended the day only 20th, but he looks forward to improving tomorrow at a track that he likes very much.
“It was a good first day, even if our opponents are all closer compared to last year. The weekend will be completely dry, so things on Sunday should once again be very tight. Anyway, we started very well and were able to keep a good pace on both the soft tyre in the morning and the harder one in the afternoon, which is positive. Tomorrow we’ll try and take another little step with the setup, because I’m not yet able to make the bike slide like I want. I want to find a way to do that, as it’s important at this track. The grip isn’t the best and tyre consumption seems quite high, so we’ll have to try and manage that aspect well.”
“Today the lap times were very fast from the start, but I didn’t have the right feeling to stay there with the others. I struggled with the fork setting and wasn’t able to be quick enough in the corners. We didn’t manage to take a step during the two sessions, so we’ll have to try something different with the setup tomorrow.”