Results and summary of the Moto3 race at the Sachsenring:
As a parade of MotoGP riders traipsed into the media center at the Sachsenring, we had time to reflect upon the fact that it is a good thing we did not have access to strong drink. For if we had decided to play the "30-lap drinking game" – taking a drink every time a rider says "tomorrow is going to be a long race", half of the MotoGP media would be spending Saturday night having their stomach pumped. Each rider we spoke to used it at least once, and some did so multiple times within the space of a couple of minutes.
What conclusions can we draw from this? That 30 laps are a lot around the Sachsenring's tight and tortuous ribbon of asphalt, where the bikes are spending most of their time on the left side of the tire. Especially in the middle of a heatwave, where temperatures are more like Sepang than Assen, despite the Sachsenring being situated in the temperate north of Europe, rather than the sweltering heat of the tropics. The Sachsenring was sweltering on Saturday, and will swelter even more come Sunday.
The Repsol Honda team issued the following press release after Marc Marquez was evaluated by medical staff for the first time after his surgery in the US:
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto2 class at the Sachsenring:
Results and summary of qualifying for the MotoGP class at the Sachsenring:
A wander up pit lane at the Sachsenring shows teams and factories still hard at work trying to figure out ways of going faster. Here's a quick note of the things I have seen so far, with a few very poor photographs.
The Barcelona test proved to be a chance to try out new aerodynamic packages, and some of those have made an appearance at the Sachsenring. On Friday, Maverick Viñales spent most of the day on Aprilia's new fairing, with Aleix Espargaro following suit today.
As you can see, the lower part of the fairing is wider, creating a ledge around the middle of the bike. That should bring the side of the bike closer to the asphalt when the bike is leaned over and create something of a ground effect. It also provides a certain amount of downforce at a very useful point, close to the center of mass.
The fairing redesign does have a disadvantage, however: the neat sliding hatch on the standard fairing where the starter motor engages has been replaced with a latch.
The final practice session for the premier class got underway after a delay due to a power cut and the soaring temperature at the Sachsenring soon made itself known with a couple of early trips to the gravel for some of the quickest men of the weekend. Fabio Quartararo managed to avoid that faith and led the session throughout, ending practice half a tenth quicker than Pecco Bagnaia – the Italian enjoying the thrills of a high-speed ride through the gravel at turn eight.
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto3 class at the Sachsenring:
Temperatures were soaring as the intermediate class enjoyed their final practice session at the Sachsenring and in typical Moto2 form, times came tumbling as soon as riders took to the track. Although they eventually had a go at a pretty uncharacteristic time attack to close FP3, it ended up being more of an intention rather than impacting too much on the timesheets. Filip Salac took over the top of the timing screens only three laps into his day and the time was quick enough to keep him there until the end of the session, the Czech rider topping practice in his closest-to-home GP.
Despite the particularly sweaty start on Saturday morning at the Sachsenring, the all-time lap record did not stand a chance when faced with an ever-quicker Pecco Bagnaia, the Ducati man improving on his own achievement from Friday to dip into the 1:19s. The only glitch in the matrix was a poor practice start, although the Italian did have some close competition from Aleix Espargaro, the Spaniard breaking the Ducati stronghold on the top five.
A very generous Sachsenring, temperature-wise, greeted the lightweight class for their final practice session but that did not stop the man of the moment, Izan Guevara, from improving the all-time lap record in Moto3. The young Spaniard spent most of the session at the top of the timing screens and ended FP3 just under two tenths of a second quicker than Ayumu Sasaki.
Conventional wisdom has it that the Sachsenring is a tight and twisty track. Slow, tortuous, and difficult. "It's like a riding on a Supermoto track!" Raul Fernandez said after his first experience riding a MotoGP bike around the German circuit. What had felt like a short straight between Turns 7 and 8 on a Moto2 bike was an entirely different experience on a MotoGP machine. "In MotoGP it's like super fast. It's like not a straight, like a corner."
As is usually the case, the conventional wisdom has only a passing acquaintance with the reality of the situation. Yes, the Sachsenring is tight and twisty. But as Tech3's Fernandez points out, it is also much faster than it seems. Jerez has a lower top speed, for example. And Jerez, Le Mans, Valencia all have slower average speeds.