Second Row Start at Sachsenring for Movistar Yamaha
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales was in early contention for pole position in today's qualifying session and secured fourth place on the grid for tomorrow's Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland. Teammate Valentino Rossi's continuous pushing earned him a hard-fought sixth position, as all 12 riders taking part in Q2 were covered by 0.7s.
Viñales started the 15-minute shoot-out with confidence. He fired up his YZR-M1 to briefly top the rankings with his first flying lap, and he was just getting warmed up. His second attempt put him firmly back on top with a 1'20.441s before he headed into the pit box with eight and a half minutes to go.
The Spaniard let the majority of the rider field leave pit lane before him, so he had clear space out on track to defend his provisional pole. Although the youngster was pushing on the three laps he had left, he dropped to fourth in the final four minutes. Unable to improve on his best time he ended the day 0.171s from first.
Teammate Rossi had a more difficult start to the session. He dipped under the 1'21s mark on his second hot lap, setting a 1'20.972s for seventh place, before he decided to return to pit lane.
With less than six minutes remaining, the Doctor began his second run with a fresh set of tyres. Finding himself in eighth place, he knew he had to take it to the next level. The Italian moved up to fifth on his fourth attempt with a 1'20.532s. He had one more shot before the end of the session but didn't better his time. He finished in sixth place, 0.262s from pole and will join his teammate on the second row of the grid tomorrow.
Position: 4th – Time: 1’20.441 – Laps: 8
"Qualifying was positive. Honestly, the first run was really good. On the second run I tried to push, but the front tyre was already a bit used, so that made it more difficult. I think it was possible today to make the pole, but we are mostly focused on tomorrow anyway. We have some things we want to improve tonight and let's see. We're going to work on the electronics and also my riding style, so I think we can improve."
Position: 6th – Time: 1’20.532 – Laps: 8
"Today was a lot better for us. We improved the balance of the bike and the acceleration, using the electronics. Our pace isn't fantastic, but it's also not so bad. It's true that, like many times this year, we're all very close, so it's important to start from the second row and try to have a good start and a good first few laps. After that we'll see. I think that the rear tyre choice will be crucial, because it's still open and we still haven't understood which is the best one. We have to see, check the data, work, and also continue to work tomorrow."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
"It's been a busy second day at the Sachsenring. Like we said yesterday, we had work to do on the settings and tyre specifications for the race, so that kept us occupied during today's two practice sessions. Maverick showed confidence at the start of Q2 and it was nice to see him hold on to provisional pole until three minutes before the end. It's a shame he wasn't able to improve his time even further on his second run. Valentino experienced the opposite: he struggled to get into the 1'20s on his first try, but managed to climb up to sixth position on the second one. Having both riders finish on the second row is not a bad result, especially considering that this circuit is not an easy place to overtake. We're still expecting a hard race. We're looking to make another step before tomorrow's warm up with a view to the race."
Zarco and Syahrin Primed for Sachsenring Comeback Race
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 racing duo has to launch the German GP tomorrow at 14.00 local time from the fifth and the sixth row respectively. Johann Zarco lowered his practice time from Friday morning by 1.431 seconds during Qualifying today but was unfortunately missing out on Q2 by just 0.116 seconds as the premier class features an incredible close field on the shortest track of the calendar.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Hafizh Syahrin faces the hard task to learn the unique circuit aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 in the course of this weekend. The Malaysian rookie did well in improving by more than 1.5 seconds from Friday morning to Saturday afternoon and eventually, has to attack from the sixth row of the starting grid tomorrow.
Position: 14th - Time: 1’21.059 - Laps: 8
"Today has been a tricky day. I don't really understand what is going wrong. It's very difficult to go fast and improve myself during the weekend. So, tomorrow in the race I will fight and see where I can finish, but it's a truly complicate moment that I hope we can overcome soon."
Position: 18th - Time: 1’21.460 - Laps: 8
"In the afternoon I felt better than this morning, as in FP3 I tried to find a good setup and was struggling a bit. Anyway, for the two sessions after lunch time, the team found the best bike for me, which I used in FP4 and with which I also tried to make a long-run to be well prepared for the race. In the last exit of the Qualifying I was a bit nervous, but I believed that I could go 0.2 or 0.3 seconds faster and therefore, we would have been able to fight for the top 15. Yet, we were very close. I try to make a good start tomorrow and to do a strong race in order to score some points for the team. I hope I can fight with my fellow rookie Nakagami, who seems to be very strong here."