Pedrosa leads come rain or shine on day one at Germany’s Sachsenring2012-07-06 14:41
On the first day of free practice at the Sachsenring at the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, which featured both a sunny and a wet session for the MotoGP™ and Moto2™ classes, with only the Moto3™ contingent staying dry, it was Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa who led the way from Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo in the premier-class.
Pedrosa’s time of 1.22’357 in the morning practice was just enough to oust teammate Stoner into second, after the Australian had been top of the timesheet for the majority of the session. Pedrosa then repeated his feat of first place in the rain-hit afternoon, as he cemented his dominance at the track where he has won five times. Both Repsol Hondas looked comfortable at the front, yet will face a stiff challenge from Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo, who was just under three tenths off the top, despite nursing a very sore right ankle.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso continued his good run of form as he finished fourth, in front of his teammate Cal Crutchlow, who is also still suffering from a fractured left ankle. Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá finished as top Ducati just over one hundredth off Crutchlow, followed very closely by Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden.
San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista set the eighth quickest time of the day, with LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl only managing ninth in front of his home crowd. The German rookie did however give the local fans something to cheer about in the rain, as he posted the second fastest time in the wet session. Tenth place went to Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies, with Ducati’s Valentino Rossi in 11th. Rossi, as in previous races, had a large gap in form between the dry and wet session, where he finished fifth, and will no doubt be hoping for the skies to open come race day. Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet set the CRT pace down in 12th.
Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini suffered an unusual crash in pit lane in the morning practice, as he fell awkwardly on his head avoiding a mechanic in pit-lane. He was declared fit at the track, but headed to the local hospital in Chemnitz for further checks. He returned for the afternoon session, though was still sighting some pain in his shoulder. The only other crash in the morning was De Puniet’s teammate Aleix Espargaró in turn 10, while Bautista’s teammate Michele Pirro, and Cardion AB Racing’s replacement rider Franco Battaini, both narrowly avoided falls as they took fast excursions into the gravel trap.
On a day that saw almost all weather conditions thrown at the Moto2™ grid it was Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Pol Espargaró who set the pace in both the wet and dry ahead of Marc Márquez and Bradley Smith.
The morning session was the only one held completely in the dry and it was Espargaró who left it late to post the fastest time of 1.25’179 to lead the timesheets. He then repeated his earlier form in the rain-hit afternoon session, which had too great a mix of wet and dry track to give any real indication of actual form. The times of the morning practice however saw Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Márquez finish in second, despite crashing out at high speed in his final hot laps. Third place went to a charging Bradley Smith on board his Tech 3 Racing machine just three-tenths off the front, with Marc VDS Racing Team’s Mika Kallio in tow.
NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis was looking ever quicker on his FTR chassis as he posted the fifth fastest time of the day, ahead of Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone. Iannone did not start the day well, as he was one of the first crashers in the opening stages. He was however able to re-join for the final part of the morning session. Behind him in seventh was another crasher in the shape of Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi, who came off with one minute remaining.
Technomag-CIP’s Dominique Aegerter continued his good form from Assen as he went eighth quickest, ahead of De Angelis’ teammate Yuki Takahashi and Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi. Corsi did well to avoid a crash half way through practice, as he ran into the gravel at high speed. The only rider outside the top ten to crash in the dry was Thai Honda PTT Gresini Moto2’s Ratthapark Wilairot, who lost the front of his Suter 18 minutes into the session. In the afternoon’s wet practice, S/Master Speed Up’s Alessandro Andreozzi fell, as he couldn’t keep his bike upright during an excursion into the gravel. None of the crashes resulted in serious injury.
The Moto3™ class was the only category to be spared from the rain at the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at the Sachsenring, and it was Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales who set the fastest time of the day in front of Jakub Kornfeil and Danny Kent.
The majority of riders set their fastest time in the afternoon session that was threatened with rain throughout, and it was towards the end that Viñales, who recovered from a high-speed crash in the morning, set a time of 128’661 just before the skies opened and the much-awaited rain started to fall. With no one else able to improve in the final minuets it was Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta’s Kornfeil who cemented his great form from the morning, finishing just over a tenth off the Spaniard. He finished ahead of Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Danny Kent, who showed a marked improvement over his subdued outing early in the day.
Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Héctor Faubel could not replicate his second place from the morning practice, yet still finished a respectable fourth, in front of RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom in fifth. Salom was the only rider in the top ten not to improve on the time he set in the morning.
Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins ended the day in sixth, whilst Racing Team Germany’s Louis Rossi, who had looked like one of the front-runners early on in the session, was pushed back to seventh. Kent’s teammate Sandro Cortese left it very late to post a competitive time, yet will not be happy with eighth in front of his home crowd, while Mahindra Racing’s Danny Webb continued his surprising run of form for the day by posting the ninth quickest time.
Tenth place went to Faubel’s teammate Alberto Moncayo, who was within eight tenths of the top time set by Viñales. None of the riders were caught out by the spots of rain that appeared at the end of the afternoon session, with all of them slowing down in time and returning to the pits. However, early in the afternoon practice, TT Motion Events Racing’s Niklas Ajo highsided his bike, yet walked away unscathed.
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