Grey skies and wet asphalt at the Sachsenring set the scene at the start of todays Q2 shoot-out that saw Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales secure ninth and eleventh place on the grid for tomorrows GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland.
After a brilliant FP3 from Rossi, during which he advanced straight into Q2, the Italian was eager to continue making strides in the afternoon qualifying session. He was one of the first riders out of the pit box and left a competitive impression as his first try initially lifted him to fifth place. He was quick to better his time on his next flying lap, but it didnt improve his ranking.
Unable to significantly climb the ranks also on his next three attempts, the Doctor decided it was time to change tactics. He returned to the pit box with less than four minutes to go for a tyre swap, opting for the soft front / medium rear combination. A quick minute later he headed back out for his second run and his tyre choice proved to be the right decision for the drying track conditions. He had time for one lap and stepped up his pace on his final try. He set a 1’28.669s to claim ninth position on the grid, 1.367s from first.
Teammate Viñales displayed his confidence in todays dry morning free practice session but struggled to reproduce the results in the afternoon in the wet Q2 session. He went straight into action as soon as the green light signalled the start of the 15-minute time attack and slotted into fourth place. He improved his time but not his position on his next lap and was looking to keep the momentum going, but lost valuable seconds as he got involved in a small collision with Marc Marquez.
Despite the incident, the Yamaha rider tried to quickly get back into a good rhythm and, though he continued to struggle to get a feel for the wet conditions, he dug deep and climbed back up from twelfth to ninth, dipping under the 1’29 mark with a 1’28.823s. He had three more attempts at beating his personal best time, but was unable to improve and ended the day in 11th place, 1.521s from the front.
Position: 9th – Time: 1’28.669 – Laps: 9
Its been a difficult weekend so far. It happened a lot of times this year: the feeling with the bike and especially with the tyres changed a lot from one track to the other. This makes it always a big surprise, sometimes positive, sometimes negative. In the dry I’m not so bad, it’s nothing fantastic, but my pace is not so far from the front, but unfortunately in the wet I suffer more. It looks like all the Yamahas, except Folger who isn’t so bad, suffer in the wet. We didn’t expect it, because last week in Assen I was competitive in the wet, but it looks like this time it’s more difficult, so we need to try some modification for tomorrow and try to be stronger.
Position: 11th – Time: 1’28.823 – Laps: 10
Im feeling quite confident on the dry, but unfortunately we couldnt improve the wet setting in the afternoon. I was feeling quite strong on the brakes and carrying corner speed, but I suffered from not having enough traction whilst accelerating out of the corner. If its dry tomorrow, I hope for a good start and I will push myself to be on the limit on every lap and I will try to be on the podium, that will be very important. Either being on the podium or even trying to win: we have to stay open-minded. If its wet tomorrow, we will continue to try to improve the bike and manage the situation as best we can.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director
The day started off very positive with the FP3 session, when Vale and Maverick both had a good feeling. We already noticed in FP4 that the feeling in the wet was not as good as it was in the dry. Valentino started the qualifying session well, but was unable to really get the feeling he was looking for in the wet conditions. When the track started to dry towards the end, he made the right call to change tyres and climbed to ninth place. It was unfortunate there wasnt enough time for him to have another go, because his potential is higher than his grid position. The same goes for Maverick. The pace he showed in FP3 this morning clearly indicates he is one of the fastest men on track in dry conditions. We will work overnight to try to find a solution to give both of the riders a better feeling in the wet. We have to try to capitalise on the information we collected in todays practice sessions as much as possible.
Fantastic Folger Qualifies as Top Yamaha at Home GP
Jonas Folger produced a superb display today to clinch his best qualifying result in the premier class as he delighted his home crowd. The young gun kicked off the day by storming to 3rd in the dry morning practice session and then showed his speed in the wet by finishing FP4 in 4th. He launched into action when Q2 commenced and built up his pace before powering across the finish line to impressively seize 5th position on the grid for tomorrows highly anticipated race.
Meanwhile, Johann Zarco will begin the German Grand Prix from the 7th row after a challenging qualifying campaign today. The French star endured an eventful FP3 session, whereby he fell at the high-speed 11th turn in the closing stages of the practice. He raced back to the pits and heroically jumped on his second bike, but time ran out and he finished 17th. The rookie got straight to work in the ultra-competitive QP1 shootout as the rain lashed down before he eventually qualified in 19th. Nevertheless, he still determinedly eyes up the race, which begins at 14:00 local time.
Position: 5th – Time: 1’28.210 – Laps: 10
Im delighted about my qualifying position for tomorrow, but the situation was very tough due to the weather and it was similar to Assen. Anyway, we did a really good job in both the dry and the wet conditions and FP3 went well, so as a result, I went straight through to QP2. There, I was able to ride a solid lap time behind Marc Marquez and I felt confident in a lot of corners. We have done everything right so far and I am really looking forward to tomorrow where I am sure I will have a great time at my home Grand Prix.
Position: 19 th – Time: 1’28.444 – Laps: 9
We did not expect todays result at Sachsenring and we wouldnt at any race. 19th is far back and not what we want when I said that I could be on the podium and fighting for a good position. My feeling was quite good, but this track is difficult, everyone is so close with the lap times and the other riders were able to be really fast with the new tyres. Anyway, I am happy about the race pace that we were working on, but its a shame that I crashed this morning because I know that I was able to improve, but turn 11 is a corner that can catch everyone out. Getting into Q2 is what makes the biggest difference, yet I was not so lucky and a lot of things didnt go our way today. However, for my first season in the premier class, I need to experience these kind of situations in order to learn so that I can be stronger in the future.