In the torrid heat at the Sachsenring and with so many headline acts in Q1, the action was quick to heat up and there were quite a few surprises on the cards, beginning with a power cut that delayed the start but built up the suspense. Once the action got underway, Fabio Quartararo flexed his muscles to lead after the first run and went on to improve his time at the second try. It was all going according to plan but Johann Zarco had other plans of his own and went even quicker to rob his compatriot of another Tissot watch. Zarco looked to improve his pole position time on the very next lap but crashed at turn 4, with the subsequent yellow flags impeding his rivals’ progress as well. Quartararo had to make do with second and missed out on pole by only one hundredth of a second but despite the French 1-2, the happiest man in pitlane was Aleix Espargaro, who gifts Aprilia their first front row start in the premier class in over two decades.
Jack Miller opted for a two-stop strategy and looked like he had the speed to challenge the French domination but a mistake on his final lap left him fourth, with the King of the Sachsenring breathing down his neck and three tenths off pole. Marc Marquez might not be in a grid spot that he’s familiar with at the Sachsenring but will be holding hopes of a podium starting from fifth on the grid. Miguel Oliveira will also be a threat from the back of the second row, while Jorge Martin did an amazing job to claim seventh on a pretty amazing day for the Pramac squad.
Pol Espargaro managed to escape Q1 and chasing Quartararo on his final run gave him a good marker on his way to eighth place, sharing third row with Honda colleague Takaaki Nakagami, who could have hoped for better than ninth, had he not crashed at turn 1 on his final flying lap. Pecco Bagnaia opens row four ahead of Alex Rins and Alex Marquez. The Suzukis looked like the favourites to escape Q1, but while Rins topped the session, Joan Mir struggled to match his teammate and a cancelled lap time for a yellow flag infringement dropped him all the way down to 17th on the grid, behind the class rookies. The rest of the unpleasant surprises were in Yamaha’s yard, where Franco Morbidelli crashed out at the final corner in the final minute of Q1 and had to settle for 18th, and an underwhelming Maverick Viñales had a disastrous session that saw him qualify on the last row of the grid. Thanks to Zarco’s surprise pole and a Q1 crash for Lorenzo Savadori the factory Yamaha team were spared from bookending the grid.