Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi will start tomorrow’s Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland from the second row of the grid having taken fifth and sixth respectively in today’s qualifying session.
Both riders had a good start to the sunny 15-minute qualifying heat, Lorenzo initially taking second and Rossi taking fifth place with their first flying laps. The M1-riders had multiple hot runs to determine their starting position, improving their times by more than 0.3 of a second from this morning’s free practice. Both then unfortunately suffered from a lack of grip with their second qualifying tyres, restricting their ability to make a further attack towards the end of qualifying.
The maximum we could do would have been third or fourth at this track.
Lorenzo had a late start to the qualification session in order to get a flying lap in without any traffic. With eleven minutes to go the Spaniard showed his consistency as he rode a sequence of laps into the 1.21’s and clocked a 1’21.526. With six minutes left of the session he came in for a fresh set of tyres to have another go at putting his name at the top of the leading board. Two minutes later he was back on track and able to improve on his time by 0.350 of a second, delivering a session best of 1’21.508 to finish in fifth place.
Teammate Rossi had the opposite approach to the qualifying session. The Italian was one of the first riders to get out on track, but soon returned to the pits after two laps. With eleven minutes remaining he was back on his way and immediately shot up to fifth in the standings with a hot lap of 1’26.651 seconds. With five minutes remaining Rossi had another return to the pit box, before quickly heading out for another hot run. The Doctor wasn’t able to improve on his time during his third stint, and will start tomorrow’s race next to his teammate in sixth place on the grid.
Jorge Lorenzo (5th / 1'21.508 / 10 laps): Fifth is definitely not what we expected from today's qualifying session, especially because we have a good pace and because we’ve always been in the top three during the weekend. In the qualifying we couldn’t take profit from the new tyres and the second tyre didn't have the same traction, I don't know why, it was spinning a lot and felt like a different tyre. The maximum we could do would have been third or fourth at this track. It’s going to be a very long race, the first lap will be important because it's difficult to overtake here but we will try to get another podium. We are not so bad in pace so let's see if we can stay with the front guys.”
Valentino Rossi (6th / 1'21.651 / 10 laps): “Fortunately I did quite a good lap with the first tyre. Usually you can go faster with the second tyre by two or three tenths, but there was something wrong with the second one. It didn’t have any grip and it was also very difficult to get the bike back to the box. There was something wrong, so unfortunately I couldn’t push. I’m on the second row and the second row is the limit for a good race. Today we worked well on the bike, we’re not so bad, but for tomorrow it will be hard. Our competitors are very fast so we have to improve."
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director: So far we’ve done a good job with both riders starting from the second row. Unfortunately we weren’t able to improve on the lap time in qualifying with the second tyre as for some reason the grip provided by it was not at the same level as the first, making it almost impossible for the riders to improve. It’s going to be a long race and both riders have a good pace so we are confident they can make a strong challenge from the second row. Tomorrow’s warm up will be important as we will try something different with the set up based on the data to try and make another step.”
Optimism high after eventful Q2 for Tech3
Pol Espargaro today accomplished a successful qualifying campaign to clinch 8th position on the grid for tomorrow’s 30-lap race at the famous Sachsenring circuit. The young Spanish rider began the day by running competitively in the morning session and consistently improving his lap times until an unfortunate fall at the rapid turn 11 close to the end of the practice. However his lap of 1’22.101 was strong enough to seal eighth place in the combined standings which saw him progress through to Q2. The unpredictable weather this week in Saxony struck again as rain fell just before FP4, yet the sun shone through for the dry qualifying session. During the 15 minute shootout, the premier class rookie battled onwards to produce a best lap time of 1’21.771, which was merely four tenths of a second from the front row and leaves the reigning Moto2 World Champion confident of challenging some of the Factory MotoGP riders tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Bradley Smith produced a spirited display today to seize ninth position on the grid, which will see him contest the race from the third row. The British rider bounced back impeccably from a fall in FP3 to set a best lap time of 1’22,001, seizing 5th and promoting him straight through to Q2. He continued to stride forward to set a best time of 1’21.794 before an unlucky late fall, preventing him from ascending any higher up the grid. Nevertheless, the lap by the 23 year old British star was only 0.3 behind the fastest Yamaha Factory rider and Smith remains primed for what will be a closely fought grand prix tomorrow where he confidently intends to finish with a top tier result at round 9 of the 2014 MotoGP world championship.
Pol Espargaro (8th / 1'21.771 / 9 laps): “Of course 8th is not where we wanted to finish but I think we were close to our maximum with this performance, I was just two tenths away from the fastest Factory Yamaha which shows how tricky things are. Plus I had a big fall this morning where I made a mistake in turn ten and then lost the front of the bike in the following corner, but luckily no injuries were caused. Aside from this, I am happy because we improved the braking stability from yesterday and this is where we gain a lot of time, however there is still some work to be done to make the acceleration better as this is where we are struggling at the moment. For sure tomorrow will be a challenging race due to the narrow, twisting nature of the circuit so a strong start is vital to success here and I would be really happy if we scored a top six finish.”
Bradley Smith (9th / 1'21.794 / 6 laps): “Today was another eventful day and in all honesty, I’m a little frustrated as we had the potential to easily qualify on the second row. I had a fall this morning which could have been much worse, but I managed to save it as best as I could. However during the incident, the foot peg went into the front of my leg and I needed stiches, so of course this was a far from perfect start. Still, I did my best and this afternoon the Yamaha felt really good. Unfortunately, I pushed a little bit too hard too early on turn 3 and 4 where we have been fast all weekend but the limit was reached that time. It’s a pity especially as the start is really important at this narrow track. Now I need to get a good rest to be in the best possible condition and I still remain confident that we will be able to fight for a strong result tomorrow afternoon.”
A well deserved 4th place for Espargaro at Sachsenring
Tomorrow the NGM Forward Racing rider Aleix Espargaro will take the start of the German GP from the first spot of the second row. The Spaniard set a very good lap time of 1’21.376, missing the front row for just 0.036 and one tenth from Dani Pedrosa, second behind pole man Marc Marquez.
In a day, complicated by the changeable weather conditions, Espargaro rode with a very good pace, using both soft and hard tyre but he hasn’t decided yet which tyre he will use for the race. He will take this decision tomorrow according to the temperature and the weather conditions, as this will be a key element for the race.
Teammate Colin Edwards continued to work on the bike set up. At the end of the afternoon session he was able to improve a bit the feeling with front and he is confident that he can make soon another step forward. Colin finished 19th, setting a lap time of 1’22.888 and tomorrow he will take the start from the 7th row.
Aleix Espargaro (4th / 1'21.376 / 9 laps): “It’s a pity that we miss the front row for just 0.036, but in the second run I lot some time in the first corner, compromising a “perfect lap”. Anyway I’m 1 tenth from Dani Pedrosa and I’m confident for the race as we have a good pace. The race will be long (30 laps) so the choice of the tyres will be crucial. I haven’t decided yet, today in fact we used both soft and hard tyre with a good feeling. Tomorrow we will try to maintain the contact with the front guys and fighting for the best possible result. After a 6th place in Barcelona and a 4th place in Assen, I aim at finishing in the top 5.”
Colin Edwards (19th / 1'22.888 / 9 laps): “Today we continued to work on the bike set up, playing with the front spring and at the end of the session we could improve a bit the feeling with the front. We understand what we have been struggling for this season and I look forward to make another step forward.”