|Marquez charges to 9th pole at Sachsenring|
Qualifying day of the German GP followed one of Marc Marquez’s classic patterns. The reigning World Champion dedicated the FP3 and FP4 sessions to finalizing his bike’s setup in order to understand the tire feedback and to test the limits to which he could push himself and his RC213V.
With all the dots connected, Marc and his team proceeded to Q2 with a clear strategy in mind: three attempts–with a long slide and an unplanned (but also unsurprising, really) near-crash–to take his ninth consecutive pole at Sachsenring. The 1’20.270" lap was a new pole record for the circuit, Marquez’s third pole this season, his 48th in MotoGP, and the 76th in his career. Chapeau.
After the first runs in the session it was Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) on provisional pole as the Spaniard was the first to break Marquez’ previous pole lap record from 2015, before the first charge on the second exit saw Lorenzo threaten that – with Petrucci in close pursuit. Over the line the two took over at the top, with Petrucci just ahead, as Marquez began his third run – later crediting the two-stop strategy as a key to his ninth pole at the venue.
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]On that last dash with the clock counting down, the number 93 was just off in the first sector, put in a personal best second sector and then a red third one – meaning he was up on the previous best overall. But it was mere hundredths and it went right down to the wire, with a solid final sector seeing Marquez just maintain the advantage and pip Petrucci by the tiniest of margins. That means it’s exactly the top two from last season, except then it was over a tenth and a half – and this year it’s half a tenth covering the front row.
Vinales wasn’t able to improve and stayed fourth, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) moved up to fifth after coming from Q1 and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) found some more pace on Saturday to complete the superstar-studded second row – with every one of them keen to get the launch of their lives and move forward at lights out. With Lorenzo ahead of them on the front row, that could be a task. The front row share 11 titles between them – but so do the second.
On the third row, former podium finisher at the venue Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) took P7, ahead of practice pacesetter Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and the on-form Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team), with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) rounding out the top ten. The number 26 has an impeccable record at the track – it’s the venue at which he’s had most success, along with Valencia – and could be one to watch when the lights go out.
Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) starts P11 and Q1 graduate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) starts P12, with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) hot on their heels in thirteenth. Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) and Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) complete the top fifteen on the grid after Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), who just missed out on a place in Q2, received a six-place grid penalty for the race following ‘irresponsible riding’ in FP3; now starting P19.
Pole Position 1'20.270 (NEW RECORD)
“Honestly, I didn’t really feel we would be able to take pole today, but we did and it’s fantastic. The team planned the perfect strategy, which was to try and use three tires, and I think that’s what gave me pole position. I knew the two Ducatis were very fast on new tires, but already during my second run, I understood that I would be able to push more on my next and final exit, on the hard tire option, which was the one I was feeling best with. I did it, but I also made a few mistakes, one in turn three where I nearly crashed! Anyway, I kept pushing and pushing on my final lap, and finally 25 thousandths of a second gave me the pole. I’m sorry for Danilo [Petrucci], but we’re both on the front row and that’s what ultimately counts. Regarding tomorrow, I think we’ll have two races–I mean the first 15 laps and the second 15 laps. In the first half, everyone will be fast but in the second half the tires will drop, and that moment will be the key. We’ve worked a lot to try and keep our pace on used tires in the high ’21s, but it’s tough and will also be tough tomorrow."
|2||Danilo Petrucci||Pramac Ducati||Ducati||1m20.295s||0.025s|
|7||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||Honda||1m20.675s||0.405s|
|9||Alvaro Bautista||Aspar Ducati||Ducati||1m20.700s||0.430s|
|12||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda||Honda||1m20.938s||0.668s|
|13||Johann Zarco||Tech3 Yamaha||Yamaha||1m21.059s||0.789s|
|14||Jack Miller||Pramac Ducati||Ducati||1m21.183s||0.913s|
|17||Hafizh Syahrin||Tech3 Yamaha||Yamaha||1m21.460s||1.190s|
|18||Tito Rabat||Avintia Ducati||Ducati||1m21.546s||1.276s|
|21||Stefan Bradl||MVDS Honda||Honda||1m21.802s||1.532s|
|22||Thomas Luthi||MVDS Honda||Honda||1m22.012s||1.742s|
|23||Karel Abraham||Aspar Ducati||Ducati||1m22.159s||1.889s|
|24||Xavier Simeon||Avintia Ducati||Ducati||1m22.709s||2.439s|