Sachsenring, Germany

Scott Jones' Photos From Thursday And Friday At The Sachsenring

The first batch of images are in from Scott Jones, here at the Sachsenring, and once again, they are real gems. There'll be plenty more to come over the next few days.


Valentino Rossi, not looking through the corner


Nicky Hayden and Chris Vermeulen on damp German asphalt


In case Marco forgets what number he runs

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2009 Sachsenring MotoGP FP2 Result - Lorenzo Leads Top 11 Under Lap Record

Jorge Lorenzo led the field during the second session of free practice for the MotoGP class at the Sachsenring, crushing the opposition by dipping under the 1'22 barrier, and finishing nearly 4/10ths ahead of Casey Stoner. The Fiat Yamaha rider had struggled yesterday, but was clearly a good deal more comfortable on the second day of practice.

Jorge Lorenzo at the Sachsenring

Behind Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa took the 3rd time, ahead of Stoner's Ducati team mate Nicky Hayden in 4th and Valentino Rossi in 5th, while a surprising Marco Melandri was 6th fastest in the session. Hayden's performance is a clear sign of progress, with the American leading the session at one point, and continually featuring in the top echelons. Melandri was similarly impressive, taking full advantage of the fact that horsepower is less of a factor at the tight Sachsenring circuit.

The field is once again very close. Lorenzo's gap to 2nd place man Stoner is the only large gap in the top 6, with less than 0.2 seconds separating Stoner in 2nd from Melandri in 6th. Even more impressive is the fact that the top 11 riders all the way down to Colin Edwards are inside Dani Pedrosa's race lap record from 2007.

Results of the MotoGP FP2 session:

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2009 Sachsenring 125cc FP2 Result - Simon Tops Aspar 1-2-3 In Damp Session

Julian Simon topped another damp session of practice for the 125cc session, the track drying out towards the end, allowing Simon to get ahead of his Bancaja Aspar team mates Sergio Gadea and Bradley Smith.

Results of the 125cc FP2 session:

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2009 Sachsenring 250cc FP1 Result - Barbera Lays Down A Marker

While both the 125cc and MotoGP sessions were badly affected by the weather, the 250cc riders were able to put in a relatively untroubled session of free practice on Friday. Spaniard Hector Barbera finished the session at the top of the timesheets, beating Gilera's Marco Simoncelli by nearly half a second. Behind Barbera, things were incredibly close, with just over a tenth of a second separating 2nd from 6th. Championship leader Hiroshi Aoyama could only manage the 7th fastest time, but his main rival at the moment, Aspar's Alvaro Bautista, is well down the order in 11th.

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2009 Sachsenring MotoGP FP1 Result - Stoner Smashes Lap Record On Drying Track

A drying track turned the first session of free practice for the MotoGP riders into a confusing and thrilling chase for times, lap times tumbling throughout. On the damp track, it was the Ducatis of Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner that led the charts, with Marco Melandri and Andrea Dovizioso constantly close. Around the halfway mark the track began to dry properly, and the top spot started swapping hands at a pace almost too fast to follow. At one point even MotoGP rookie Gabor Talmacsi took over 2nd spot, before the rest of the field started catching up.

Casey Stoner at the Sachsenring, FP1

Once the track was fully dry - with the exception of a small stream running across the track around Turn 1 - it was Casey Stoner who set the fastest time, smashing the existing lap record in the process by over three tenths of a second. The 2nd spot went to Dani Pedrosa, who had been in and out of the top ten all day, but snatched 2nd in the dying seconds, forcing Valentino Rossi down into 3rd. All of the Yamaha men started the day off slowly, languishing in the bottom half of the timesheets, but as the track dried, all four Yamahas improved. 

Randy de Puniet took 4th spot, ahead of a surprising Alex de Angelis, who has a history of good results here at the Sachsenring, while Colin Edwards was 6th fastest on the Tech 3 Yamaha. Toni Elias was 7th quickest, just ahead of Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso. But with just 0.2 seconds separating places 5 through 11, those positions were taken almost at random.

Hayden was unlucky to have been shuffled down into 8th, as the American put on a very strong show for most of the session, regularly topping the timesheets. Hayden has spoken of feeling more comfortable on the Ducati, and his results are starting to show it.

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2009 Sachsenring 125cc FP1 Result - Simon Tops Rain-Lashed Session

Storm at the Sachsenring in GermanyThe weather played a dominant role in the 125cc session of free practice at the Sachsenring on Friday, the session starting out hot and steamy, before the black clouds which had been hovering over the forests of Saxony finally broke, submerging the track under a deluge. The rain meant that the timesheets only reflect the first 25 minutes or so of practice, as the riders who emerged after the worst of the storm had passed were lapping much more slowly round the wet track.

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Pasini's Team Toth Pays Up, Will Race At The Sachsenring

The Hungarian-based Team Toth has had a turbulent year so far. The team's pursuit of glory in the 250 class was boosted by the signing of the talented Italian Mattia Pasini, but signing Pasini meant obtaining top-flight equipment, and so the team obtained a factory-spec RSA 250 from Aprilia, a necessary prerequisite for any rider with title aspirations.

But factory-spec Aprilias don't come cheap. And finding the million euro lease fee is proving more difficult than Team Toth had at first thought. So far behind had the team fallen in their payments that at Assen, Aprilia withheld the ECUs from the team until an emergency funds transfer hit the Noale firm's bank account, leaving both Pasini and his team mate Imre Toth Jr sitting idly in the pits for half of the first session of free practice.

Pasini looked to be in similar difficulties at the Sachsenring, with early reports suggesting that Aprilia was once again withholding vital parts awaiting payment from the team. But this time, Team Toth got a payment of 100,000 euros to Aprilia on time, according to GPOne.com, and so both Pasini and Immi Jr will both be riding from the start of the weekend. But the payment will only cover the costs of the bikes for the Sachsenring, and so the entire soap opera looks set for a repeat at Donington. 

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2009 MotoGP Sachsenring Preview - Round The Left Hand Side

In every form of competition requiring a track, the participants travel around the track in a counter-clockwise direction, making a sequence of left turns. In track cycling, athletics, flat track, speedway, greyhound racing, horse racing, NASCAR and a host of other forms of racing, the competitors just keep turning left.

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Nicky Hayden: "I'm Starting To Enjoy Riding The Ducati"

At the pre-race press conference for the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring, Nicky Hayden spoke about the progress he'd been making on the Ducati, after a difficult start to the season. Speaking to a packed press room, under questioning from MotoGP.com's official commentator Nick Harris, the American revealed how the hard work put in by him and the team were starting to pay off. Below is a transcript of part of Hayden's interview:

Nicky Hayden at the Sachsenring press conference 

Your 5th place at Laguna must have given you a great boost.

Last couple of races we've been 10th, 8th, 5th, we've made a lot of progress. That makes me happy that we're moving in the right direction, and we've found a way with the team. I'm enjoying riding the bike more. It's pretty good, and we need to keep going. But now I know that to stick my nose in the next group is when it's going to get real hard. That's the big step, that final group up front. We're going in the right way, just keep our head down and there's a lot of racing left to go.

What made the difference or did it just start to click? You've changed personnel, you've all been working very hard to make it work?

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Pedrosa To Use New Engine At Sachsenring

Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso will have a new engine to test at the Sachsenring. The Spaniard told the press conference at the German track that Honda had built a new engine to tame the power delivery of the RC212V. "We have one new engine. It is to improve the delivery of the power, because our engine is always very peaky and we have a lot of spinning in low gears. We want to try and avoid this and get better drive out of the corners," Pedrosa said. Both Pedrosa and especially team mate Andrea Dovizioso have complained all year that the Honda was too peaky, with Dovizioso being most vocal of the power delivery, labeling it as "too aggressive."

Dani Pedrosa at the Sachsenring

The new engine comes in addition to the revised chassis the Repsol Honda riders and Toni Elias have been using recently, Pedrosa and Dovizioso since Barcelona, Elias since Assen. All three of them have lauded the greatly improved corner entry of the new chassis, Dovizioso doing so despite having crashed out of the last two races. Dani Pedrosa demonstrating how successful the improvements had been by using the new chassis to win the previous Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.

Pedrosa also revealed that more parts are in the pipeline, but he felt it was too early to tell whether the changes would pan out in the long term. "It's not easy to say if we are going in a good direction or not," Pedrosa said. "You cannot base all of your comments on one race or one track. You have to keep on trying to see if it's good."

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