Betting on Marc Márquez to take pole and win the race at the Sachsenring looks like the safest bet imaginable. From 2010 until 2017, Marc Márquez has started the race on pole and gone on to take victory in all three of the Grand Prix classes he has raced in. Márquez is truly the King of the Sachsenring.
Friday seemed to merely underline the Repsol Honda rider's dominance at the Sachsenring. Though he didn't top the timesheets in either FP1 or FP2, that was only because he hadn't bothered putting in a soft tire in pursuit of a quick time. Take a look at underlying race rhythm, and Márquez was head and shoulders above the rest of the field.
That pace continued into Saturday morning. Once again, Márquez was not the fastest – he finished sixth in FP3 – but in terms of pace, he had half a step on everyone else. But it was only that: half a step. Others were starting to catch the Spaniard. Could he really be in trouble for the race?
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto2 class at the Sachsenring:
Results and summary of qualifying for the MotoGP class at the Sachsenring:
The uncharacteristically hot temperatures at the Sachsenring seemed to have levelled out the field in terms of race pace. With the Hondas on the hard front and most of the field favouring the medium set of tyres, race pace looked to drop towards the mid to high 1:21s and it was Ducati’s turn to look like favourites in these conditions. Andrea Dovizioso in particular looked like the strongest man on track and topped the session by two hundredths of a second although the Italian did not quite replicate full race distance on his mediums.
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto3 class at the Sachsenring:
The final opportunity for the intermediate class to find their way around race setup went more smoothly for some than others. After the final third of the session saw a multitude of crashes, the red flag had to wave while air fence was being fixed.
That left about eight minutes on the clock for a final charge and attacks to the top position came from all over the place. Joan Mir, Sam Lowes and Marcel Schrotter seemed to be battling it out between themselves for much of the remaining time, until Luca Marini sneaked up on them and grabbed the lead on his very last flying lap.
The usual Saturday morning race pace routine unfolded for the premier class, with the exception of Valentino Rossi who was on an early mission to join the provisional top ten after a disappointing FP2.
Andrea Iannone jumped the gun on the time attack and robbed Jorge Lorenzo of the fastest time of the weekend with 13 minutes left on the clock. That kickstarted the charge for the top ten and the lead changed hands several times before the roulette stopped back on Iannone, the Suzuki man once again consolidating his reputation as an extremely fast man over one lap.