The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team completed their first laps around the resurfaced Sachsenring circuit today, with Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi showing an encouraging pace in FP1. Showers in the afternoon meant they couldn’t improve on their morning’s times and saw them hold second and sixteenth place respectively in the combined free practice timesheets.
Viñales made good on his words from the pre-event press conference and showed he was able to find a good pace right from the start of the German round. He was quick to get a steady rhythm around the resurfaced Sachsenring circuit, as he tried multiple tyres. Exuding great confidence on his YZR-M1, he repeatedly topped the FP1 rankings and set a personal fastest lap of 1’21.637s, but was ultimately pushed down to second place, just 0.038s from first.
The Spaniard was eager to show the same strong pace in the afternoon, but was cautious not to get caught out on the slippery surface after showers hit the track. Despite the sun being out frequently, there was barely a dry line forming as rain returned for a couple of minutes, making it impossible for the Yamaha rider to better his morning effort. Nevertheless, Viñales braved the conditions to get a feel for the wet track and set the 20th fastest time, 1.902s from first.
Rossi had a challenging start to the German Grand Prix. Though he carried a competitive pace on his opening laps, the tide turned when he encountered a technical issue on his first bike, losing him valuable time in the first free practice session. The Italian quickly returned to the box to head back out on track on his second bike and posted a best lap of 1’22.535s, for 16th place, 0.936s from the top.
The Doctors misfortunes continued in the afternoon. He had hoped for a dry FP2 in order to better the time and position he obtained in FP1, but quite the opposite was the case. As it soon became clear the completely wet session wouldnt allow him to breach into the top-10 of the combined timesheets, he focused on fine-tuning his bikes settings. With the final ten minutes of the session spent under bright sunshine, he set the 15th fastest time on his final lap, 1.434s from the front.
Position: 2nd – Time: 1’21.673 – Laps: 23
In the afternoon we didnt feel as good as we did this morning, we didnt find a good set-up. I was struggling on the wet and we have to try to work really hard to improve the bikes set-up, especially for tomorrow, considering that it might rain during the race. Anyway, we know we can work on it. In the morning it was quite good. I tried many tyres, I felt quite strong on the bike and I have a good potential to improve, so for me it was a good day, even if we werent the best in the afternoon. I look forward to continue working on the bike in FP3 tomorrow.
Position: 16th – Time: 1’22.535 – Laps: 22
It was a difficult day, because I was slow in all the conditions. I think that especially in the wet we suffer very much. I think we’re not good with the balance of the bike. In the dry I think our pace is a bit better, but anyway it’s nothing fantastic. Unfortunately, on the last run in FP1 I didn’t have any feeling with the front tyre and I wasn’t able to make a good lap time to enter the top-10. As I’m not in the top-10, we hope that tomorrow we can have a dry session in FP3. If not, it will be very difficult because starting from behind is a nightmare for everybody. We have to try to improve the bike’s balance in the wet, because with the new asphalt the bike is very difficult to ride and usually in the wet we are stronger, but today we’re are quite far from the top, so we have to try to modify something.
Sachsenring is always one of the more challenging tracks for us on the MotoGP calendar and today we were faced with some extra obstacles. Maverick is feeling very confident in the dry conditions, which he showed this morning. The rain in the afternoon was a pity because we could have used another dry session to work on the bikes settings and get some extra track data for the race, should it be dry on Sunday – its still unsure. A dry FP2 would also have allowed Valentino to better his time and position after this mornings practice session, but it wasnt to be. Nevertheless, the first day gave us a good indication in which areas we need to improve, especially in the wet. We got some good feedback on the tyres that we used this morning and we were also able to complete the compulsory five laps on the hardest specification. We will try to prepare some solutions for tomorrow’s Free Practice 3 session.
Confident Start for Tech3 Duo Despite Contrasting Weather on Day 1 at Sachsenring
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 pair hit the track at full throttle today as they began the German GP with encouraging starts. Johann Zarco concluded the day in 7th overall, and only 0.184 from third after a solid opening run in FP1. The rain fell in the afternoon, and despite a small crash, he continued his preparation for any weather condition on Sunday. Meanwhile, home hero Jonas Folger finished 11th in the combined standings and under six tenths of a second from the leading bike. The motivated young German confidently ended up 8th in the wet FP2 session and now looks on to tomorrows action, which begins at 09:55 in Saxony.
Position: 7th – Time: 1’21.973 – Laps: 55
I am pleased with how the first day went for us in Germany. This morning, I was happy about learning the track on the MotoGP bike and in the end, I finished 7th whilst using the soft tyre. This means that if it rains tomorrow, I will already be in QP2 and that is pleasing. In addition, the grip level was quite good here when it was dry. In the afternoon, the session started damp but it began to dry before it then rained again. Here, I went out on the track in order to get a feel for the asphalt and the grip is amazing when its wet, so I needed to make some references. I have to say that it was awesome to feel how much you can push the bike here in these conditions. Unfortunately, I had a crash, but these things happen sometimes, yet luckily I am ok and there is no pain anywhere. After that, I went back out on my second bike so that I could move on from my crash and get some confidence back. I accomplished this and that is the most important thing, even if I am a bit further back on the time sheet from where I would like to be.
Position: 11th – Time: 1’22.175 – Laps: 54
I am really happy about what we achieved on the first day here in Germany. FP1 went quite well and we used the hard tyre, which a lot of people didnt and ultimately, I finished only 0.576 back from the top. Then in the afternoon it rained, but it was incredible to see how much grip this track has when it is wet and honestly, I couldnt believe it. However, it was hard to find the limit, and in Assen it was the opposite. As I result, I think I took the feeling from the last race to here, and I needed some time to get the confidence back so that I could make the most of the really good grip in the rain. In the end, we changed the bike setting a little bit and tried to improve the front, but we were quite fast when we did this. So overall, we did a solid job on day one and Im excited for more tomorrow.