Lorenzo leads a Ducati armada on Day 1

2018-07-13 10:40
The number 99 heads the Friday timesheets, and on what's traditionally been Honda turf

Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) ripped up the Honda-drenched formbook on Day 1 at the Pramac Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, taking Ducati to the top of the timesheets near the end of FP2 to set a 1:20.885 – only half a second outside the best pole position at the track, set by ‘King of the Ring’ Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) in 2015. Lorenzo left it late to top the provisional Q2 graduates, and was joined in the upper echelons by Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing), who was two and a half tenths back, and Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar), who was another 0.062 in arrears. Iannone was the fastest man in FP1, too, on a close day that saw 18 riders within a second.

It was a first day characterised by surprisingly pleasant weather and some surprises on the timesheets – some key headlines from which saw Marquez, winner and polesitter for the last eight years, in fifth and teammate Pedrosa just inside the top twenty. Pedrosa, who announced his retirement at the end of 2018 on Thursday, is the man who won three in a row at the venue before Marquez’ roll began – making Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) the last non-Repsol Honda rider to take to the top step at the venue in 2009 and Rossi was another headline, ending Friday in P17.

Back at the top behind Lorenzo, Petrucci and Iannone, it was another Ducati machine in fourth as Borgo Panigale dominated the day, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) in close company, and only 0.040 ahead of Marquez as it tightened up. The gaps didn’t get any bigger going further down the timesheets either, with top Yamaha Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) taking sixth and by only 0.035 – no mean feat given the position of his fellow Iwata marque machinery: Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was in P16 and 0.007 ahead of Rossi, with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) 0.003 off the Italian in P18.

Takaaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was another headline on Day 1 as the Japanese rider took P7 after a slew of impressive laps. Traditionally a Honda hunting ground, the LCR rider was the fastest rookie by a long shot on Friday, impressing to gain provisional entry to Q2. He was just ahead of Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing), riding a Ducati at the venue for the first time, and LCR Honda Castrol’s Cal Crutchlow, a former podium finisher at the Sachsenring.

Alvaro Bautista completed the top ten on combined times for the Angel Nieto Team, with the Spaniard’s recent run of form remaining with him in Germany. He beat Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) to provisional Q2 entry, with Rins looking to move forward in FP3.¡ after his best ever MotoGP™ finish last time out at Assen.

Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) took P12 as top KTM, ahead of his brother and top Aprilia Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini). Bradley Smith on the second KTM took P14, with the top fifteen completed by Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing), who was a crasher in FP1. Mika Kallio was another who crashed on Day 1, but this time in FP2 as the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing wildcard took a tumble.

Speaking of wildcards, one man on to make an appearance as one after the summer break in Brno is Stefan Bradl, but the German is back on track earlier than expected after getting a call up to ride for EG 0,0 Marc VDS this weekend. The HRC test rider took over for FP2 in place of the injured Franco Morbidelli, who damaged his hand in a crash at Assen, and Bradl’s best put him only a tenth and a half off Pedrosa.

Come back for more on Saturday for FP3 from 9:55 (GMT +2) and qualifying from 14:10.
Vierge fastest, under a tenth splits top six in Moto2™

Spanish rider, German team: Vierge took to the top
The Spaniard sets the benchmark on the opening day but the times are tight, with Marquez and Schroetter rounding out the top three

Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) topped the Moto2™ timesheets after the opening day’s track action at the Pramac Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland in what was an incredibly tight FP2 session. The Spaniard beat second quickest Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) by a slender 0.025 seconds, with fellow Dynavolt Intact GP rider and home favourite Marcel Schroetter 0.004 back from Marquez in third.

Vierge ended FP1 down in 20th position, but improved his time by over a second in the afternoon to head into qualifying day as the fastest man in the intermediate class. Marquez was sixth this morning, with Schroetter also vastly improving from FP1 – the German jumps from P16 to P3 in FP2.

Another rider to improve his time from the morning session was Khairul Idham Pawi (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), who ends the day a fantastic fourth after finishing FP1 down in 26th place. And despite a crash at Turn 3 during the afternoon session, Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) was fifth quickest on the opening day – a 20 place leap from his P25 in FP1 and just 0.086 back from Vierge.

Behind him was FP1’s third fastest rider Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40), who ends the day sixth quickest despite being only 0.093 back from the top spot. Compatriot Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) ends Friday in seventh, improving from P15 in the morning, with Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) finishing as the leading KTM rider on the opening day at the Sachsenring in eighth.

0.051 back from the South African was Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors), dropping two spots from his FP1 position despite leading FP2 for a considerable amount of time, with Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) rounding out a top ten that was split by just 0.202 seconds.

Second in the Championship Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) ended Friday in 13th on a track he claimed P2 at last season, with double podium finisher Fabio Quartararo (MB Conveyors – Speed Up Racing) down in P17 – 0.407 off the pace.

The Red Flag had to be shown with 11 minutes remaining as Federico Fuligni (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) crashed at Turn 2 after contact with Stefano Manzi (Forward Racing Team). The Italian’s Kalex machine damaged the air fence, which forced the session to be halted for a short while as it was being re-deployed – rider ok.
Manzi himself then crashed at Turn 1 as the riders went back out on track for the final ten minutes, with Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors) also crashing during the session – riders ok.

It’s advantage Vierge in Moto2™ but with the top 28 riders covered by less than a second, the fight for pole looks set to be an incredible battle. Tune in for the intermediate class qualifying at 15:05 local time (GMT +2).

Hometown hero: Oettl ousts Arbolino and Martin from the top

The German GP and a German fastest: Oettl was P1 on Day 1
German ends Friday at his home GP as the quickest rider in the Moto3™ class

Home rider Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) went quickest in FP2 to end Friday at the Pramac Motorrad Deutschland Grand Prix at the top of the timesheets, beating second fastest Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) by 0.042 seconds, with Championship leader Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) in third.

Despite the threat of rain mid-way through the second Free Practice session, all but three of the lightweight class field set their fastest laps of the day in the afternoon. German Oettl started his weekend off by setting the third fastest time in FP1, with the Jerez race winner then going over half a second quicker in the afternoon to give the Sachsenring faithful something to cheer about. Arbolino was P11 in the morning, with the Italian improving his time by over a second to jump up to second quickest, with FP1’s quickest man Martin having his final lap time cancelled for exceeding track limits in FP2 – he ends the day 0.046 off Oettl.

John McPhee (CIP – Green Power) continued his solid start to the German GP, the Scotsman ends the opening day fourth fastest after finishing second in FP1 – 0.136 back. Rounding out the top five on the opening day was Bester Capital Dubai’s Marcos Ramirez, the Spaniard climbing one place from his P6 this morning to end the day fifth on combined times.

Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) was sixth on the combined timesheets, cementing a top ten place at the end of day one in Germany – 0.239 back, with Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) in seventh after finishing FP1 in ninth.

Eighth after the first two Free Practice sessions was Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team Moto3), who improved from 13th in the morning despite a crash at Turn 1 at the end of the day. Ninth quickest was Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrustelGP), finishing 0.068 ahead of tenth place Fabio Di Giananntonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) – the Italian improving from P14 in FP1 as he hunts down the points leaders in the title fight.
Ai Ogura (Asia Talent Team) and Nakarin Atiratphuvapat (Honda Team Asia) crashed in FP2 - both riders ok.

Can Oettl continue his fantastic home GP form when the Moto3™ riders head out for FP3 and qualifying on Saturday? The final Free Practice session starts at 09:00 local time (GMT +2), with qualifying kicking off at 12:35 local time.

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