Marc Marquez Unstoppable On Saturday In MotoGP Qualifying At Sachsenring

Repsol Honda riders will flank emergent Petrucci for Sunday’s race in Germany.

Marquez at German GP
“Halfway into the session, there was a bit of confusion with Maverick [Vinales],” Marc Marquez said. “There was some contact, but luckily nothing happened. In the end, I was able to do a very good lap. Now, we need to focus on the race.”Repsol Honda

Marc Marquez topped both dry practice and wet qualifying on Saturday to earn his 68th career Grand Prix pole position and eighth successively across three classes at the Sachsenring.

Free Practice 3, like FP1 and 2 on Friday, was extended from 45 to 55 minutes to give MotoGP riders more experience on the recently resurfaced, 13-turn, 2.28-mile German track.

Marquez got within 0.409 seconds of his own lap record in FP3 with a best-of-session 1:20.745. Maverick Vinales was the only other rider to bust through the 1:21 barrier.

Another front-row start for Danilo Petrucci: “I am very happy to be here because it was a real fight,” he said. “It was a beautiful battle with Marc Marquez, but he was better. Since last year, I was looking for this result in this circuit.”MotoGP

German GP Qualifying Results 1. Marc MARQUEZ (93), Repsol Honda Team HONDA 2. Danilo PETRUCCI (9) OCTO Pramac Racing DUCATI 3. Dani PEDROSA (26) Repsol Honda Team HONDA 4. Cal CRUTCHLOW (35) LCR Honda HONDA 5. Jonas FOLGER (94) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 6. Jorge LORENZO (99) Ducati Team DUCATI 7. Pol ESPARGARO (44) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 8. Aleix ESPARGARO (41) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA 9. Valentino ROSSI (46) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA 10. Andrea DOVIZIOSO (4) Ducati Team DUCATI 11. Maverick VIÑALES (25) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA 12. Alvaro BAUTISTA (19) Pull&Bear Aspar Team DUCATI 13. Jack MILLER (43) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS HONDA 14. Loris BAZ (76) Reale Avintia Racing DUCATI 15. Bradley SMITH (38) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 16. Andrea IANNONE (29) Team Suzuki Ecstar SUZUKI 17. Mika KALIO (36) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 18. Hector BARBERA (8) Reale Avintia Racing DUCATI 19. Johann ZARCO (5) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 20. Karel ABRAHAM (17) Pull&Bear Aspar Team DUCATI 21. Sam LOWES (22) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA 22. Alex RINS (42) Team Suzuki Ecstar SUZUKI 23. Scott REDDING (45) Octo Pramac Racing DUCATI 24. Tito RABAT (53) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS HONDA

Focusing on race pace in FP4, Marquez posted nine consecutive laps in the high 1:21s and mid 1:22s, his final five varying by no more than just 0.111 seconds.

Dani Pedrosa, Marquez’s Repsol Honda teammate, was also able to reach the 1:21s before rain began to fall with 12 minutes remaining in the 30-minute session.

Heavy rain soaked the circuit and continued throughout Qualifying 1—a real nail-biter. By the time Q2 got rolling, the downpour had subsided though the circuit was still very wet.

Baby Samurai
Front-row start in Germany for Dani Pedrosa: “I’m happy to have found my feeling in the wet again, which I had lost in Assen last week,” he said. “Conditions were tricky in qualifying but, ultimately, we got a good result.”Repsol Honda

Danilo Petrucci led much of Q2, losing out by 0.160 seconds. In parc ferme, the Italian gave Marquez a friendly shove. His first pole will have to wait until at least next month’s Czech GP.

About his 1:27.302 pole-winning lap, Marquez said, “In the beginning, I was patient. I was waiting to the end because the water was coming less and less.

“Then, I realized, with less water, there was even less grip. So, it was difficult to improve the lap time. The main target was to try to be on the front row and pole position.

“Even last year, the track dried so quick. This year, with the new asphalt, even more. For tomorrow, I hope for a dry race but you never know. It will be tough.”

Petrucci, third at Mugello and second last weekend at Assen, will line up for Sunday’s 30-lap race in the second spot on the starting grid.

One of several big names who missed the top-10 cutoff in FP3, the 26-year-old OCTO Pramac Ducati rider said going through Q1 was actually a blessing.

“I was lucky to stay in Q1 to get the right confidence,” he said. “At the end [of Q2], Marc was faster than me, but it was a big fight. I was on my limit.”

Cal Crutchlow at German GP
About the final moment of qualifying, Cal Crutchlow said, “I made a couple of mistakes in the last sector, but the tires had too much heat in them and were destroyed. I’m happy to be in the top four. It gives us a chance to get away with them tomorrow and battle.”MotoGP
MotoGP points leader Andrea Dovizioso was disappointed with qualifying. “Starting from 10th at the Sachsenring is not ideal,” he said. “Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales are also close to me on the grid, so I hope we’ll be able to recover positions in the race.”Ducati Team

Pedrosa was also consistently quick, dry or wet. “Compared to last weekend, where the conditions were similar, we did a much better job,” he said.

“The asphalt is very grippy in the wet. [The track] was drying little by little and the temperature was rising, so it was more difficult to find the right line.”

Cal Crutchlow just missed the front row and will start fourth, a real improvement from Friday. "Yesterday, we were 13th," he noted. "We have to make the right tire choice tomorrow."

Rounding out the top five is German hero Jonas Folger. “I was not sure how fast I could go,” the Yamaha Tech 3 rider said. “I followed Marc for a few laps, and I saw some good lines.”

Jorge Lorenzo at German GP
“This morning, we found something in the setup that allowed me to go quicker,” Jorge Lorenzo said. “We’ll see what the weather conditions are like for the race. Tire choice will be crucial, as well as being able to manage tire wear for the most number of laps.”Ducati Team

Where are the factory Ducatis, a winner in the hands of current points leader Andrea Dovizioso at Mugello and Catalunya? Jorge Lorenzo is sixth on the grid, and Dovizioso is 10th.

“Conditions were as I prefer, not so much water,” Lorenzo said. “If I could have changed the rear tire, I could have been even faster. It overheated too much the last three laps.”

Lorenzo’s lap-by-lap progression in Q2 tells the story: 1:30.721, 1:30.174, 1:29.454, 1:28.865, 1:28.857, 1:28.549, 1:28.383, 1:31.525, 1:28.666, 1:28.798.

“Yesterday, we did 25 laps and the consumption of the tire was very low,” said a baffled Dovizioso. “Today, we finished the rear tire in four laps. This is really bad.”

The Doctor
“It’s been a difficult weekend so far,” Valentino Rossi admitted. “It looks like all the Yamahas, except Jonas Folger, who isn’t so bad, suffer in the wet. We didn't expect it, because last week in Assen I was competitive.”Yamaha Racing
Maverick Vinales at German GP
Maverick Vinales, Movistar YamahaYamaha Racing

Pol Espargaro also transferred from Q1 to Q2. The former Moto2 world champion earned the best-ever start for KTM, sixth, in his ninth weekend for the Austrian factory.

“The electronics were perfect and grip on the rear was really good,” Espargaro said, adding that in the second 15-minute session, like Lorenzo, his rear tire got hot.

For the third race in a row, neither factory Yamaha will start from the front row. Valentino Rossi qualified ninth and teammate Maverick Vinales was 11th.

“Like has happened a lot of times this year, you have a very different feeling from one track to the other, especially with the tires,” Rossi said. “This is very difficult to manage.

“In the dry, my pace is not fantastic, but I am not so far from the guys on the top. In the wet, I suffer more. The bike is difficult to ride, and I am very slow.”

Vinales also had “many problems” in wet conditions. “When I touched the gas, I didn’t have good drive,” he said. “For me, it’s a problem with the electronics.”

Marquez has just one win—Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas—in the last 11 races. Will the 24-year-old Spaniard keep his German winning streak alive on Sunday?

“Whatever conditions we find,” Marquez said, “it will be okay, as we have a really good pace both in the dry and in the wet.”