MotoGP: Maverick Vinales Back In Fighting Form

Vinales tops a tricky day one at Sachsenring

Maverick Vinales 2016

2013 Kawasaki KX250F: Slim frame design

Maverick Vinales leads the way on day one of the German Grand Prix.Photo Courtesy of MotoGP

It wasn’t an easy day at the office as MotoGP riders were greeted with damp, cool conditions on day one of the German Grand Prix at Sachsenring. Although it managed to stay dry for the faster afternoon session, it still managed to catch many riders out, including the top man of the day – Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Vinales.

Vinales was happy to return to top form, especially after falling victim to the infamous turn 11, the first right turn after several left-handers.

“Honestly I can’t explain the crash; I just lost the front without any evidence of the cause,” Vinales said. “Corner 11 here is always very tricky, I need to check the data to verify if maybe I was a little wider than normal, or there was something else different from the previous lap; but it may also be a matter of temperature: In corner one and three – the other right-handers – I was okay, but then corner 11 is very far away and it’s very hard to keep the right-shoulder of the tire at the proper temperature.”

Since his first career podium finish at Le Mans, Vinales has only been outside the top three, only able to manage top five results. So it was a great start to the weekend on top, but the young Spaniard knows that there is work to do in order to stay there.

“The start has been good, the position is positive; but we still have some work to do,” Vinales said. “This track is very tight, so we started from a set-up that guaranteed good agility, but now we have to find a good balance having a little more stability in some parts. It’s not going to be easy because as always, when you improve in one direction, you lose something in the other.”

Trailing Vinales by .220 of a second was the morning’s fast man – Ducati’s Andrea Iannone. Iannone was also happy with day one’s work, and surprised as well. Normally it’s a track that he and Ducati struggle with.

Andrea Iannone 2016

2013 Kawasaki KX250F: Front fender & number plate

Andrea Iannone gets off to a great start at Sachsenring.Photo Courtesy of MotoGP

“At the end of the day, I am satisfied,” Iannone said. “Both this morning and this afternoon the feeling with the bike was very good: I started off very confident and I like the way the bike behaves. I’m a bit surprised, because both last year and in 2014 we struggled quite a lot here, and so it means that once again we have all managed to do a good job together. Today we had a few problems with grip in general, but I think this is a problem that everyone has. In my opinion, Michelin brought the right tires for this circuit, but the only problem is that the temperature was too low today and so we had to adapt the set-up of the bike to deal with the situation.”

In third was Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez. The series points leader decided that it was best not to push the limits in the difficult conditions on the first day of practice.

“Today was a good day, although the way that it began was a little strange,” Marquez said. “In the first session we were only able to do a few laps because it started to rain slightly, but it wasn’t heavy enough to put on wet tires. The second session was more-or-less normal, although there were low temperatures and a very cold track. We had to dial things back a little, especially at turn 11, where many riders crashed. Nevertheless, I felt quite comfortable with the bike. We want to improve on some points and have to keep working, because the forecast for tomorrow is that temperatures will improve slightly. It will be an interesting Grand Prix because of the weather, and the prediction is that on Sunday we’ll have a situation like today, when rain could fall at any time.”

LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow was fourth and top independent rider, the Brit also opting not to take too many risks in the tricky conditions. Iannone’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso was fifth ahead of Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro. In seventh was Avintia Ducati’s Hector Barbera followed by Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci and Scott Redding. Rounding out the top 10 was Columbian Yonny Hernandez on the Aspar Ducati.

Suffering the most on day one was Movistar Yamaha, with Valentino Rossi 14th and Jorge Lorenzo further back in 16th.

Marc Marquez 2016

2013 Kawasaki KX250F: front master cylinder

Marc Marquez plays it smart in the tricky conditions at the German circuit and still manages third.Photo Courtesy of MotoGP

2016 MotoGP Sachsenring Day One Combined Results:

  1. Maverick Vinales (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 1:22.161

  2. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati 1:22.381

  3. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda 1:22.775

  4. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) LCR Honda 1:22.817

  5. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati 1:22.930

  6. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 1:22.953

  7. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Ducati 1:23.015

  8. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati 1:23.053

  9. Scott Redding (GBR) Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati 1:23.061

  10. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Aspar Ducati 1:23.123

  11. Pol Espargaro (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:23.400

  12. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:23.460

  13. Jack Miller (AUS) Marc VDS Honda 1:23.485

  14. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha 1:23.534

  15. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda 1:23.740

  16. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha 1:23.824

  17. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Aprilia 1:23.958

  18. Stefan Bradl (GER) Aprilia 1:24.116

  19. Tito Rabat (SPA) EG 0.0 Marc VDS 1:24.746

  20. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aspar Ducati 1:24.911

  21. Loris Baz (FRA) Avintia Ducati 1:25.049