Photography by Gold & Goose
Marc Marquez continues to rack up ever more impressive stats. Saturday at Germany’s Sachsenring, the defending MotoGP World Champion not only won the pole for Sunday’s German Grand Prix, he also broke a six-year-old track record held by Casey Stoner. Marquez’ lap of 1:20.937, on his Repsol Honda, shattered the old mark of 1:21.067 set by Stoner in 2008.
Almost 3-10ths of a second back is Dani Pedrosa, who starts second in spite of crashing out of the session in the closing minutes. Germans fans will be thrilled that their own Stefan Bradl will start on the front row, qualifying third, making it a Honda sweep of row one.
Yamaha owns the second row with Aleix Espargaro, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi qualifying fourth through sixth.
Aleix Espargaro established the fast lap early with a 1:21.819, and then it was Bradl with a 1:21.369. With just less than nine minutes to go Pedrosa shot to P1 with a 1:21.233.
Bradley Smith crashed his Tech 3 Yamaha with about four minutes to go. It was his fourth fall of the weekend. Shortly after that provisional pole man Dani Pedrosa was down and off in a gravel trap and his session was over. Pedrosa was up and appeared to be OK after the crash.
Just seconds after Pedrosa’s fall, his teammate Marquez moved to the top of the timing charts with the 1:21.126. He then bettered that with his lap record run. It marked his seventh pole of the season, but his first since June 1, when he won the pole at Mugello.
After a slow start to the weekend Nicky Hayden suddenly sprang to life and unexpectedly topped the Q1 session on his Drive M7 Aspar Honda. He would ultimately qualify 12th matching his best starting position of the season.
For Marquez it marked getting back on the pole after missing it for two rounds and it erases the memory of his spectacular crash on Friday.
“Already in FP4 I feel quite good in the last part when we go out and the track was good,” said Marquez, who scored his 16th-career MotoGP pole. “And then in qualifying practice, the feeling was good, but with first tire on the first round I had a small problem, but then we did second one and everything was fine. We did a really good lap and that was the most important. For tomorrow also we have a good rhythm with the used tires. So I’m really, really happy and I have good confidence for the race.”
Pedrosa admitted perhaps going too fast into turn one resulting in his crash.
“I had a good run in the first tire,” Pedrosa explained. “I was comfortable, so I tried to go out on the second one and had the first warming up lap and then in turn one I just pushed too much maybe and crashed. So finally front row is important always at this track. Setting of the bike is not so bad and I’m looking forward for tomorrow. The front tire will be key to choose and also we have to wait for the weather.”
For home country favorite Bradl it marked his second front-row start of the season, his first coming in Austin in April.
“It’s a great weekend so far for me,” Bradl said. “I hope we can also have a good Sunday. In this track it is so important to be in the front row, to have a good grid position. It is so tight and is difficult to overtake, so we’ve done a good job so far. We’ll see the weather tomorrow, but if the sun is coming out it’s going to be difficult with the front tire. We have to keep an eye on that, but I think we should be ready.”
The MotoGP from Germany starts at 8:00 am Eastern. There is a 50 percent chance of rain at the Sachsenring on Sunday.
Qualifying results for the German MotoGP from the Sachsenring – July 12, 2014
1. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 20.937s [Lap 9/10] 292km/h (Top Speed)
2. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 21.233s +0.296s [4/7] 293km/h
3. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 1m 21.340s +0.403s [7/10] 293km/h
4. Aleix Espargaro ESP NGM Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha) 1m 21.376s +0.439s [6/9] 286km/h
5. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 1m 21.508s +0.571s [7/10] 289km/h
6. Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 1m 21.651s +0.714s [4/10] 293km/h
7. Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 1m 21.679s +0.742s [9/10] 290km/h
8. Pol Espargaro ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 21.771s +0.834s [7/9] 291km/h
9. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 21.794s +0.857s [3/6] 290km/h
10. Alvaro Bautista ESP Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 1m 21.906s +0.969s [7/10] 292km/h
11. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 1m 22.120s +1.183s [8/9] 292km/h
12. Nicky Hayden USA Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 1m 22.647s +1.710s [3/11] 279km/h
13. Yonny Hernandez COL Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 1m 22.411s
14. Scott Redding GBR Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RCV1000R) 1m 22.436s
15. Cal Crutchlow GBR Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 1m 22.529s
16. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 1m 22.659s
17. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing (RCV1000R) 1m 22.778s
18. Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 1m 22.845s
19. Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha) 1m 22.888s
20. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Racing (Avintia) 1m 23.029s
21. Mike Di Meglio FRA Avintia Racing (Avintia) 1m 23.423s
22. Broc Parkes AUS Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 1m 23.428s
23. Danilo Petrucci ITA IodaRacing Project (ART) 1m 23.484s