PHOTOGRAPHY BY GOLD & GOOSE
Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez earned pole position for tomorrow's German Grand Prix by turning a 1:21.311 on the tight and technical Sachsenring circuit, but the big news on the day again centered around a crash and the injuries suffered to championship leader Dani Pedrosa. In what turned into a very close qualifying session, Marquez will be joined on the front row by Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi.
But the big news of Saturday was a crash by World Championship leader Pedrosa in the morning Free Practice 3 session, forcing him to miss qualifying. Pedrosa highsided in turn one 15 minutes into the session and looked to be holding his left shoulder. Early checks suggested that the Spaniard had not broken any bones, but he was airlifted to the Klinikum Chemnitz hospital for further examination; including a second X-ray and a CT scan after he complained of feeling faint. Those X-rays revealed a minor break in his left collarbone, according to reports on MotoGP.com.
It has not yet been announced if Pedrosa will attempt to race Sunday. He would start from 12th on the grid if he’s cleared to ride.
Pedrosa leads the standings, seven points ahead of rival Jorge Lorenzo, who will miss Sunday's race after crashing during practice on Friday. Lorenzo has flown to Barcelona for another operation on his left shoulder which he damaged in a crash at Assen two weeks ago.
With the top two riders in the series out on Saturday, it was Marquez who came through to score his third pole of the season with about two minutes to go in the session.
“We did a very good qualifying practice, especially in the second run” said Marquez, who comes into German ranked third in the World Championship. “The first run I struggled a little bit to find the best grip on the tire, but with the second tire we did a very good three laps. We will see tomorrow – [Cal] Crutchlow and Valentino [Rossi] are very strong. It was important to be there on the front row, because at this track it is quite difficult to overtake the other riders. I am ready for a fight for the podium and if we are lucky, for the victory.”
Crutchlow outgunned Rossi in the final seconds of the session to secure second in spite of riding with injury from a nasty crash on Friday.
“To be on the front row is good I think because Sachsenring is not my favorite circuits,” Crutchlow said. “I have some big abrasions on my arm so I think tomorrow is going to be very, very difficult. Hopefully we can have a good race tomorrow. We’ll assess the situation in the morning.”
Rossi was thrilled to be on the front row for the first time since 2010.
“Last time on the front I think was Le Mans 2010,” Rossi said. “It was a long, long time ago and I struggle a lot also this season to make a good qualifying, but from Assen I was competitive because I could go a bit faster. During this weekend I always have good pace, good lap time and I try also for the qualifying. I’m so happy because we did a good lap and I’m happy also because the pole position is not so far. The target was to start on the front row because it’s important for tomorrow.”
The second row will be headed by Germany’s own Stefan Bradl (1:21.862). Bradl had hoped for more, but suffered an easy lowside in turn three in the session and had to go to his backup bike. Aleix Espargaro (1:21.887) earned the best ever CRT qualifying position with fifth. Also on the second row is American Nicky Hayden (1:22.157) who put his factory Ducati on the second row for only the second time this season. Sachsenring has traditionally been a strong circuit for Hayden. He’s earned four podium finishes there, more than any other track.
The crashes and injuries gave an opportunity for a few riders to shine in qualifying. Came Ioda Racing’s Danilo Petrucci and NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Claudio Corti both made it into the final Q2 session.
Texan Colin Edwards starts 18th on the FTR Kawasaki with a 1:23.631.
MotoGP from Germany will be televised on SPEED Sunday morning starting at 7:30 am Eastern.
Qualifying from the German Grand Prix at Sachsenring – July 13, 2013
1. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 21.311s
2. Cal Crutchlow GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 21.434s
3. Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 1m 21.493s
4. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 1m 21.862s
5. Aleix Espargaro ESP Power Electronics Aspar (ART CRT) 1m 21.887s
6. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Team (GP13) 1m 22.157s
7. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 22.297s
8. Alvaro Bautista ESP Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 1m 22.484s
9. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (GP13) 1m 22.561s
10. Claudio Corti ITA NGM Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 1m 23.059s
11. Danilo Petrucci ITA Came IodaRacing Project (Suter-BMW CRT) 1m 23.361s
12. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) No Time
13. Randy De Puniet FRA Power Electronics Aspar (ART CRT) 1m 23.152s
14. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 1m 23.333s
15. Michele Pirro ITA Ignite Pramac Racing (GP13) 1m 23.349s
16. Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART CRT) 1m 23.549s
17. Yonny Hernandez COL Paul Bird Motorsport (ART CRT) 1m 23.565s
18. Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 1m 23.631s
19. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing (ART CRT) 1m 23.752s
20. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 1m 23.820s
21. Lukas Pesek CZE Came IodaRacing Project (Suter-BMW CRT) 1m 24.395s
22. Bryan Staring AUS Go&Fun Honda Gresini (FTR-Honda CRT) 1m 27.273s
23. Andrea Iannone ITA Energy T.I. Pramac Racing (GP13) No Time