MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2013
Today was a day of mixed fortunes for the Repsol Honda team during free practice and qualifying for the German Grand Prix, at the Sachsenring, with rookie Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) storming to pole position while team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) was helicoptered to hospital following a heavy fall this morning. The World Championship leader has a small fracture to his left collarbone and will reassess the situation tomorrow morning before deciding if he is able to race. Two weeks after the first front-row start of his premier-class career at Assen, local hero Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) was a close fourth fastest in front of his home crowd despite a low-speed fall during qualifying.
This was Marquez’s third premier-class pole (after Austin and Le Mans) and he did it in fine style, his second run putting him more than a tenth of a second in front of Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha), who had started the previous race at Assen from pole. Assen race winner Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) completed the front row in third place.
Marquez loves this tight and twisting track, and has won on his last three visits, once on a 125 and twice on a Moto2 bike. The 20-year-old reckons that the difference between riding a Moto2 bike and a MotoGP bike is less than at most circuits, simply because the Sachsenring is so full of corners that a MotoGP bike never gets the chance to really stretch its legs.
Pedrosa, who currently leads the points chase, fell during this morning’s FP3 session, run in cool temperatures and after a brief rain shower that had sent riders back to the pits, waiting for the rain to abate. His rear tyre let go a few laps later as he rode through the first turn. The tyre then gripped suddenly, triggering a huge highside that had the Spaniard landing heavily on his left shoulder. He previously broke his left collarbone at Motegi in 2010. After medical checks at the track Pedrosa was taken by helicopter to Chemnitz hospital for further examination.
Although he was unable to take part in qualifying, Pedrosa’s lap times from free practice automatically seed him into the race, in 12th position on the grid, though he has yet to decide if he will make the start.
Tomorrow’s race will certainly go ahead in the absence of reigning World Champion and Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) who crashed heavily yesterday, aggravating the left collarbone injury he sustained at Assen. The impact of the tumble bent the titanium plate inserted to fix the broken bone. Lorenzo currently sits second in the championship race, nine points behind Pedrosa. He also looks set to miss next weekend’s United States Grand Prix.
Bradl was in the hunt for another front-row start when he slipped off at the low-speed Turn Three right-hander. He quickly rode back to the pits and continued the session on his second bike, ending up just 0.551 seconds behind Marquez.
Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) ended qualifying in eighth place. He made the mistake of letting his tyres cool down too much before pushing for his qualifying lap, though he believes he has a good enough race pace to stay in touch, so long as he gets a good start.
MotoGP rookie Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) had a nasty highside at turn four during QP1, which damaged his first machine. Although the Australian got back to the pits, his second bike was set up differently, so he didn’t have the confidence to push to the maximum. He will start the race from 22nd on the grid.
Xavier Simeon (Desguaces La Torre Maptaq Kalex) scored his first ever Grand Prix pole position with a thrilling ride in the Honda-powered Moto2 class qualifying session. The Belgian, who scored his first GP podium at May’s French GP, bettered Jordi Torres (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter) by little more than one hundredth of a second. Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP40 Pons Kalex) was a close third fastest, with the front row covered by just 0.175 seconds.
The Moto2 grid is always tightly packed but more so than usual at this track, because the lap is short and the circuit layout is tight. Due to those two factors the top 25 riders are separated by just 1.219 seconds, suggesting close and frantic racing tomorrow.
Row two is led by fourth-fastest Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Suter), his best qualifying performance since returning from injury at the Spanish GP. The Swiss ace will start tomorrow’s race alongside Simone Corsi (NGM Mobile Racing Speed Up), with Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) completing the row.
Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) heads the third row, two weeks after crashing and breaking his left collarbone at Assen. The Japanese had the break plated and is already back to full speed. World Championship leader Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) had a difficult qualifying after topping yesterday’s times. The Briton ended up eighth, albeit less than the tenths off pole. He will start the race between Nakagami and team-mate Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex)
Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG FTR Honda) had another strong Moto3 qualifying, scoring his fifth second-row start from the first eight races. The Australian teenager was in fine form, using the sweet handling of his FTR Honda around this tight and twisty track to qualify less than three tenths of a second off pole. And he believes he could have been even closer to the front if he hadn’t been held up by slower riders on his final lap.
Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda) also enjoyed today’s Moto3 session, achieving his best qualifying performance of the year and is first third-row start, in eighth place. The Italian teenager was just 0.510 seconds off pole.
Third fastest Honda rider was Spaniard Isaac Vinales (Bimbo Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda) in 11th and just ahead of Niccolo Antonelli (GO&FUN Gresini FTR Honda) in 13th, Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing Suter Honda) in 14th and Lorenzo Baldassarri (GO&FUN Gresini FTR Honda) in 16th.
|1||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)|
|2||Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|3||Valentino ROSSI (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|4||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|5||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|6||Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)|
|7||Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|8||Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO&FUN Honda Gresini)|
|9||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)|
|10||Claudio CORTI (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|11||Danilo PETRUCCI (Came IodaRacing Project)|
|12||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|13||Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|14||Hector BARBERA (Avintia Blusens)|
|15||Michele PIRRO (Ignite Pramac Racing)|
|1||Xavier SIMEON (Desguaces La Torre Maptaq)|
|2||Jordi TORRES (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)|
|3||Pol ESPARGARO (Tuenti HP 40)|
|4||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing)|
|5||Simone CORSI (NGM Mobile Racing)|
|6||Julian SIMON (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|7||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|8||Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|9||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|10||Alex DE ANGELIS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|11||Johann ZARCO (Came Iodaracing Project)|
|12||Nicolas TEROL (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)|
|13||Marcel SCHROTTER (Desguaces La Torre SAG)|
|14||Randy KRUMMENACHER (Technomag carXpert)|
|15||Ricard CARDUS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|1||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|2||Luis SALOM (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|3||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Mahindra Racing)|
|4||Jonas FOLGER (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)|
|5||Jack MILLER (Caretta Technology - RTG)|
|6||Maverick VIÑALES (Team Calvo)|
|7||Efren VAZQUEZ (Mahindra Racing)|
|8||Romano FENATI (San Carlo Team Italia)|
|9||Jasper IWEMA (RW Racing GP)|
|10||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|11||Isaac VIÑALES (Ongetta-Centro Seta)|
|12||Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|13||Niccolò ANTONELLI (GO & FUN Gresini Moto3)|
|14||Brad BINDER (Ambrogio Racing)|
|15||Arthur SISSIS (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|