Qualifying at Laguna Seca was in unsurprisingly glorious Californian weather, with the dry lake bowl providing the usual entertainment, in spite of there being no long straights on the short, but exceedingly popular, track. With the Corkscrew getting the column inches, the last turn, the first gear turn 11, is the one that catches most people out, and it caught a rider out in Superpole Two.
2014 Sachsenring Saturday MotoGP Round Up - Marquez On Pole, Silly Season Shenanigans, And The Dangers Of Skipping Moto2
After he missed out on pole at Barcelona, and then again at Assen, people were starting to wonder if cracks were starting to appear in Marc Marquez's hegemony in MotoGP. His performance in qualifying may have faltered, but his reign remained intact when it counted, winning the first eight races in a row. On Saturday, Marquez hammered home his supremacy once again, taking pole by three tenths of a second – an eternity at the short and tight German circuit – and breaking Casey Stoner's pole record for the circuit from 2008, a record set on super-sticky qualifying rubber, tires which disappeared with the introduction of the spec tire a year later. Once again, Marquez moved the bar, posting the first ever sub 1'21 lap of the Sachsenring.
It was a goal he suspected was possible when he posted a 1'21.5 on used tires during FP4. Already fast on his first run, everything slotted into place on his second, and the new record was his. "I felt everything was perfect with the second tire, and I could get the record," Marquez said. His seventh pole of the season also sets him up to retain his perfect win record on Sunday. Starting on the front row is crucial at the Sachsenring. The track is tight, and passing places are few and far between. Starting from pole, especially for a relatively poor starter like Marquez, gives him a head start for tomorrow's race.
So who can challenge Marquez on Sunday? The list of candidates is short. There is of course his teammate, Dani Pedrosa always having been fast here at the circuit. Pedrosa post a fast lap on his first qualifying run, and looked set to improve it as he exited the pits for his second attempt. He was perhaps a little too eager, however, and the Repsol Honda man folded the front going into Turn 1 just as he started his second flying lap. "I think I hit a bump under braking," Pedrosa said. His race pace throughout practice was good, but could not match the pace of Marquez.
Unlike the usual schedule, with limited pit space causing the absence of World Supersport and requiring all manner of logistical shifts, all three timed qualifying sessions took place on the Friday, with the entries to Superpole decided yesterday.
Press releases from Bridgestone and the MotoGP teams after Saturday's qualifying for the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring:
Press releases from the Moto3 and Moto2 teams after qualifying at the Sachsenring:
Tom Sykes puts himself at the top of the most likely to get pole position with a blistering 1'23.097 ahead of the Ducatis of Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies. On a track where outright top speed and power aren't necessary to do well, as can be seen by the top speeds below, Sykes still shows that on a single lap, he's at the top of the pile.
Full Recap and Results Below:
Full Recap and Results Below:
Marc Marquez has topped MotoGP FP3 at the Sachsenring after early rain saw the riders do a lot of waiting around in the pit lane, only to get a useful ten minutes of valuable track time to refine their race setups. Dani Pedrosa made it a Repsol Honda 1-2 and appeared to have discovered some decent pace heading into the qualifying session to follow.
Stefan Bradl continued his strong showing at his home Grand Prix to take third place while the factory Yamaha duo of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo rounded out the top five.
Full Recap and Results Below:
Suisse rider Dominique Aegerter has topped the third Moto2 free practice session with a time of 1:24.673, which was over half a second quicker than yesterday's benchmark set by Mika Kallio. Kallio ended up in second place a mere seven hundredths behind Aegerter while Jordi Torres rounded out the top three a further five tenths back.
Simone Corsi continued his strong Friday showing to set the fourth fastest lap putting him ahead of local favourite Sandro Cortese who put in a late charge to sneak into the top five. Championship leader Tito Rabat cut a frustrated figure throughout the session and had to settle for sixth place, he would be looking for drastic improvement during the afternoon's qualifying session.
Championship leader Marc Marquez has recovered from his topsy-turvy Friday to top MotoGP FP3 at Sachsenring. The Spaniard set a time of 1:21.581 which was half a second quicker than the benchmark set yesterday and put him almost three tenths clear of Jorge Lorenzo in second place. Local rider Stefan Bradl was hot on Lorenzo's tail and gave the home crowd reason to cheer by rounding out the top three.
Friday's pace setter Aleix Espargaro had to settle for posting the fourth fastest time ahead of fellow Yamaha rider Bradley Smith who recovered well following a nasty crash early in the session to complete the top five. There were also high speed shunts for Broc Parkes and Pol Espargaro, thankfully all riders walked away unscathed.
Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso, Yonny Hernandez and Cal Crutchlow will have to do things the hard way later on in Q1 after finishing in eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth places respectively.
Jack Miller has made taken advantage of glorious sunny conditions to make it three out of three by once again topping the time sheets for the third Moto3 free practice session. The Australian's time of 1:26.767, set during a scintillating run of sub 1:27 laps, put him half a second clear of Danny Kent in second. It also put him half a second inside Alex Rins' pole record from last year and two tenths inside Luis Salom's circuit lap record.
Alexis Masbou, Brad Binder and Jakub Kornfeil rounded out the top five some eight tenths shy of Miller's benchmark. Alex Rins had his second crash of the weekend early in the session as the track was left slippery from an overnight storm, Karel Hanika also crashed shortly after. Both riders were unharmed and finished proceedings eleventh and twentieth respectively.
Chaz Davies heads to Superpole with the fastest time of the day, beating the Aprilias of Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri. Tom Sykes has to rely on his time from the second session for provisional fourth, while Toni Elias's time from the first session qualifies him for Superpole Two, knocking Loris Baz down to Superpole One where he will be one of the favourites to be promoted to the second session.
2014 Sachsenring Friday MotoGP Round Up - Marquez' Big Crash, Some Fast Yamahas, And Fixing Turn 11 Again
There are those who say that Marc Marquez is due a big crash soon. He is always riding so close to the edge of traction that at some point, he will go over the limit and suffer the consequences, they reason. They will therefore not have been surprised to learn that Marquez had a huge highside on Friday morning. What will surprise them is the cause of the crash. It was not due to pushing his Honda RC213V beyond the limits of adhesion, he explained to the media afterwards, but was caused by a minor slip of his foot. His toe touched the gear lever, clicking the bike into 3rd, and that caused the rear tire to grip momentarily and flick him off.
The crash happened at Turn 2. "You turn with the gas in second gear," Marquez said. "I didn't know at the time, but I was touching a little bit the gear lever." In the last part of the corner, he accidentally engaged third, and as he kept the throttle in the same position, the bike highsided. Marquez was thrown upside down, and landed on his neck. He was lucky to walk away, but walk away he did. He returned to the garages and was straight back on the bike again, posting the sixth fastest time, six tenths off the pace of Aleix Espargaro, and a third of a second behind Jorge Lorenzo.
By the afternoon, Marquez was back at full speed, and second quickest behind Aleix Espargaro once again. He still had some stiffness in his neck, he said, but it was not really hindering him. "The neck feels a bit locked in some corners, but it is not a problem," he said. Intensive physiotherapy kept his neck warm, and prevented it from seizing up and becoming painful. That only happened after the session was over, and his neck started to cool down.