MotoGP Sachsenring qualifying report: Marquez with 8th straight pole

Marc Marquez continues his domination by beating six-year-old lap record and leading an all-Honda front row, with Dani Pedrosa and Stefan Bradl

motogp sachsenring qualifying marc marquez
2014/07/12 - mgp - Round09 - Sachsenring - MotoGP - Marc Marquez - Repsol Honda - RC213V - ActionAndrew Northcott

Despite crashing heavily yesterday when he accidentally upshifted into third gear, Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez quickly rebounded from that mistake to get up to speed right away and once again demonstrate his supremacy over the MotoGP field by shattering the six-year-old lap record at the Sachsenring and take his eighth straight pole position of the year during qualifying for the German Grand Prix. After setting a quick lap on his first soft tire, Marquez went back out and broke Casey Stoner's previous 1:21.067 lap record with seconds remaining in the Q2 qualifying session with a 1:20.937 effort. Teammate Dani Pedrosa turned in the second quickest lap just before he lost the front end and crashed out in T1 with a minute remaining. LCR Honda MotoGP's Stefan Bradl made it an all-Honda front row by securing the third-quickest lap in front of his home crowd.

Yamahas filled the second row, with Open Class leader Aleix Espargaro going fourth quickest on his NGM Mobile Forward Racing Yamaha, while the factory Movistar Yamaha duo of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi ended up fifth and sixth respectively.

Marquez had a feeling he could break the lap record after seeing how quick he went on a used tire in the morning practice session. "We started the weekend with a big crash, but then step-by-step, we got our confidence again with the bike," Marquez said about his Friday practice crash. "And already yesterday afternoon the rhythm was quite good. Now this morning in FP4, I saw with a used tire I was able to do 21.5, and then I started to think a little bit that maybe it was possible to do a 20. I felt so good with the bike, we improved the setup and that was important. In the qualifying practice, in the first run I had a small problem, but then in the second one I felt good grip with the tire, so I pushed and we did a really good lap time that was the record for the circuit. It’s a difficult circuit, 30 laps, quite a long race, so we’ll do our best to keep a good rhythm."

When asked how he could rebound so quickly from such a nasty highside crash, Marquez replied, "If you work out at home, if you have a good trainer, if you do some stretching at home, it’s important. If you warm up your body before you get on the bike, it helps a lot when you have a crash like that."

"I had a good pace during the session today in qualifying, I did a good lap time, but unfortunately I crashed," lamented Pedrosa about his qualifying crash. "Maybe I made a mistake or hit a bump under braking, but it’s still front row. It’s always really important to be on the front row here because the first section is tight, so you need to be up front in the opening laps. Tomorrow the front tire selection will be key. We’ll need to make the best choice, and hopefully get a good start."

Bradl was understandably elated to get on the front row at his home Grand Prix. "It’s a good feeling to do a good performance especially here in Germany. It’s fantastic you know, I could see the crowd was enjoying it; the people are really emotional and really supporting me. I’m happy that I did a good performance today for them. It’s important to be on the front row here because the track is so tight and it’s difficult to overtake. Also in FP4 I think our rhythm with a used tire was not so bad, so throughout the weekend we weren’t far from the top guys."

Lorenzo complained of a bad second tire, as did his teammate Rossi, that thwarted any opportunity to get onto the front row. The new construction rear Bridgestone was also causing issues at the Sachsenring. "Well, for the moment, we are not able, but in general especially at this track, we aren’t able to take advantage of this new tire," said Lorenzo. "There is not so much difference between the old tire and the new tire because as soon as I want to open more throttle to make the lap time, it starts to spin a lot. Also, the other problem was the second tire—same thing that happened to Valentino—it was worse. From the warmup lap, I felt that as soon as I pick up the bike it had much more spinning and it was more difficult to accelerate. I improved just a little time with this tire but not enough to stay on first row. I’m really disappointed with the position, but I think we did good work during the weekend, always in second or third position, and if we can improve one or two tenths, we can stay with Marquez tomorrow."

Rossi concurred about the suspect quality of his second rear tire. "Fortunately I did a quite good lap with the first tire. Usually with the second tire you can go faster, two or three tenths, but the second tire had something wrong and it didn’t have any grip and it was very difficult to bring the bike onto the front row. So there was something wrong with the tire and unfortunately I couldn’t push hard. But anyway I am in the second row, and the second row is the limit for a good race. Also our race pace, we weren’t so bad. But tomorrow will be hard because the Repsol Hondas but also Bradl are very, very fast, so it will be very difficult."

MotoGP Sachsenring qualifying results:

Pos. Rider Country Team Machine Time
1 Marc Marquez SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:20.937
2 Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:21.233
3 Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 1:21.340
4 Aleix Espargaro SPA NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 1:21.376
5 Jorge Lorenzo SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:21.508
6 Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:21.651
7 Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing Ducati 1:21.679
8 Pol Espargaro SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1:21.771
9 Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1:21.794
10 Alvaro Bautista SPA GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda 1:21.906
11 Andrea Dovisioso ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1:22.120
12 Nicky Hayden USA Drive M7 Aspar Honda 1:22.647
13 Yonny Hernandez COL Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Ducati 1:22.411
14 Scott Redding GBR GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda 1:22.436
15 Cal Crutchlow GBR Ducati Team Ducati 1:22.529
16 Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Drive M7 Aspar Honda 1:22.659
17 Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Honda 1:22.778
18 Michael Laverty IRL Paul Bird Motorsport ART/Aprilia 1:22.845
19 Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 1:22.888
20 Hector Barbera SPA Avintia Racing FTR/Kawasaki 1:23.029
21 Mike Di Meglio FRA Avintia Racing FTR/Kawasaki 1:23.423
22 Broc Parkes AUS Paul Bird Motorsport ART/Aprilia 1:23.428
23 Danilo Petrucci ITA Octo Ioda Racing Ioda/Aprilia 1:23.434