Yesterday it looked as if the race was going to be fought out between Marquez and Lorenzo. Today it looks much the same. Lorenzo is on the front row behind the two Repsol Hondas but says he has ” …really constant pace with the hard tyre–even after ten or fifteen laps.’ That was in response to pole-sitter Marquez’s assertion that he has ‘confirmed the Sachsenring feeling’ but that ‘rear grip at the end will be crucial.”
No-one is surprised that Marquez can do one quick lap, but we don’t know if he can do a race’s worth of them. The data from today suggests he is in better shape for the race than we thought, he put together some very consistent runs. Dani Pedrosa quietly snuck into second place, and may have had pole but for a couple of small errors on his fast lap.
When I say errors, I mean a couple of manifestations of the still troublesome character of the Honda. Dani told me they were evidence of the way the bike can behave inconsistently. He wouldn’t be drawn on specifics but did say “We know where the problems come from.” Marc Marquez was just as open: “The character is coming from the engine.”
Most folks had worked that out, despite Nakamoto’s protestations, but this was probably the most open the riders have been about the problems. And it confirms that Honda are stuck with it for the year.
As for the championship, Valentino Rossi is back on the third row (again) and facing the prospect of Lorenzo taking a big bite out of his championship lead. There again, if the forecast is correct and it hoses down with rain, the smart money will be on Valentino.