Sachsenring, Germany

Sachsenring Saturday Round Up: On Injury Heroics, Confusing Race Pace, And Marquez' Master Manipulation

It has been a pretty brutal weekend for the MotoGP riders at the Sachsenring. With less than a week to recover after a punishing race in Assen, everyone is stiff, sore, and tired. But those who crashed in Assen or had a physical problem have it doubly tough, having to deal with the tight and tortuous layout of the Sachsenring circuit.

Such conditions inevitably create tales of motorcycling heroism. Taka Nakagami is one such, the LCR Honda rider still badly beaten up after his crash at Assen, where he was taken out by Valentino Rossi. Nakagami has a badly damaged left ankle, but is trying to ride anyway.

Having an injury on his left ankle is one of the worst possible injuries at the Sachsenring, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because is mostly left corners, meaning that the left ankle is bearing much of the load for a large part of the lap, riders leaning much of their weight on their inside leg through the corner. And secondly, because there is so much gear shifting to do, riders going up and down through the box through the tight and twisty circuit.

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2019 Sachsenring MotoGP FP4 Result: Viñales Harasses Consistent Marquez

The final practice session for the premier class heated up, mostly literally, and more realistic tyre choices filtered through, the softs mostly abandoned in their blankets to rest for qualifying. Presumably tired of Fabio Quartararo stealing his thunder, Marc Marquez found half a second on the competition early in the session and then wore them down with scarily consistent low to mid 1:22s.

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2019 Sachsenring Moto2 FP3 Result: Binder Settling At The Front

The final chance for the intermediate class to find some pace was accompanied by sun but not everyone got to fully enjoy the conditions. Tom Luthi did it from the top of the timesheets until the top 14 shootout brought lots of red sectors but only Brad Binder followed it all the way through. The KTM rider took over the lead in the final handful of minutes, courtesy of the only 1:23 time of the day. Luthi kept second position, a tenth and a half off the leader and only narrowly ahead of Remy Gardner.

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2019 Sachsenring MotoGP FP3 Result: Marquez Reclaiming Territory

A warm but windy Sachsenring set the scene for FP3 and Yamahas enthusiastically sampling the gravel at turn one was a more consistent sight than any race pace on display. After Fabio Quartararo provided the early off track entertainment, the Frenchman did a long stint in the pits for some adjustments before coming out swinging and laying the benchmark for the rest of the session.

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2019 Sachsenring Moto3 FP3 Result: Ramirez Guides Oncu To The Top

Sunshine made an early appearance on Saturday morning and times in the lightweight class came tumbling down, Marcos Ramirez taking down the lap record with five minutes left on the clock. Rivals fought on to snatch the achievement but orange sectors were not enough and the Spaniard got to keep the laurels to the checkered flag. The Leopard bikes had been doing their tag team thing and Can Oncu tagged along to the reluctant duo for a fast lap that brought him within seven hundredths of a second of Ramirez.

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Sachsenring MotoGP Friday Round Up: Blocked Laps, Honda's New Frame, And Marquez Applying Pressure To Quartararo

What was the big surprise on Friday at the Sachsenring? The fact that there were no real surprises. The first day of practice played out pretty much as you might expect based on the first few MotoGP rounds of 2019. Marc Márquez put in a push on FP2 to wrap up top spot at the end of the first day, a third of a second clear of Alex Rins on the Suzuki.

Besides Márquez, Rins was quick, as were the Yamahas of Fabio Quartararo, Maverick Viñales, and even Valentino Rossi. Cal Crutchlow got into the top 6, just behind Pol Espargaro – the KTMs and the Hondas were the only bikes which could gain a chunk of time from using the soft rear tire – while the Ducatis are not far behind.

Fabio Quartararo felt he could have been quicker, if he hadn't come across his teammate while he was chasing a fast lap. The Frenchman came up behind Franco Morbidelli, who was cruising around the tight interior section between Turns 2 and 3. For a few minutes, Quartararo was fuming, waving his arms in the air and gesticulating wildly.

Blocking party

After the session ended, the Petronas Yamaha SRT rider was a touch more contrite. "I was upset for five minutes," he said. "But you know it's really special, when you put a soft tire in, it's the best moment of the day. You make all the work, and that's the most fun part of the day. Fortunately we can't really make a good lap time with these tires, but that's OK. I was too angry, I should be more calm in these conditions."

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