Is the run of Yamaha domination about to come to an end? After winning seven out of eight races, the Yamaha YZR-M1 certainly looks like the best bike on the grid, so on paper, it should continue to crush the opposition beneath its wheels at the Sachsenring.
After all, the strength of the Yamaha is its ability to carry corner speed and get drive out of corners, and the Sachsenring has barely a straight line in its 3.7 kilometers.
Yet after two days of practice, it has been the Hondas which have ruled the roost in Germany. The bike which is supposed to have problems looks untouchable, with Marc Márquez looking untouchable, Dani Pedrosa the best of the rest, and both Scott Redding and Cal Crutchlow showing real promise.
Race Direction has come down hard on riders dawdlilng on the racing line looking for a tow. Punishments have been handed out to a grand total of 17 riders in all three classes.
Punishment is particularly harsh in Moto3. The 11 riders who were caught waiting on the racing line were all given a penalty of 3 grid positions, basically all moving them back one row on the grid.
Among the offenders are some high-profile names, including Enea Bastianini, currently second in the Moto3 title chase and who originally qualified 2nd on the grid.
Marc Marquez smashed his own Sachsenring lap record by 0.601 seconds, on his way to pole position for tomorrow’s German Grand Prix.
Jorge Lorenzo also went under the old lap record, but had to settle for 3rd on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
The intense eyes of Cal Crutchlow, who will start from 10th.
It is a dangerous thing to write a rider off. We learned that with Valentino Rossi, the old man currently leading the championship after two terrible years at Ducati, one tough year at Yamaha and then the first sign of resurgence from the middle of 2014.
Rossi adapted, learned, progressed, and came back stronger. After the first seven races of 2015, the wolf pack in the media center had written off Marc Márquez and HRC.
The Honda RC213V was too aggressive an engine to be tamed by electronics, the chassis too stiff to contain the stampede of horsepower contained in the 90° V4. The bike span, wheelied, and worst of all, slid the rear wheel unpredictably when it touched down ready for braking into the corner.
Márquez was trying, but perhaps a little too hard, riding every lap as if it was his one shot at pole, overloading the front tire to compensate for the lack of braking at the rear.
Márquez was pushing his luck, and it kept running out during the race, the Repsol Honda man either finishing down the order, or ending up in the gravel once the front cried enough.
If you enjoyed our first sampling of the Paddock Pass Podcast, which is mysteriously titled Episode 2, then we think you will enjoy our latest installment: Episode 3, which we just recorded at Sachsenring for the German GP.
On the mics are David Emmett (MotoMatters.com), Scott Jones (Photo.GP), and Tony Goldsmith (Asphalt & Rubber). The boys talk a little bit about “The Pass’n at Assen” and then get into the happenings at the opening days of German GP.
An embedded SoundCloud version of the podcast is waiting for you, after the jump.
Marc Marquez was back down to business, setting the quickest time in both sessions on Day One at Sachsenring.
You could probably write a book about Valentino Rossi’s “Routine” — he has that many. First up, he always closes his visor with both hands as a walks to his bike from the pit box.
Bradley Smith was only 0.119 seconds behind Marc Marquez at the end of FP2.
The Sachsenring treated us to its usual surprises on Thursday, with rain and squally winds blowing through the paddock in the morning, and the sun coming out as the day went on.
Fortunately, the only people out on track were the riders doing reconnaissance laps on the scooters, and safety officers cutting fast laps during their usual pre-weekend track inspection.
As an observer, it is hard to tell the difference between a circuit safety inspection and hooning round the track in one of the many high-end BMW sports cars that the German car-maker provides to Dorna, but I’m sure that as ex-racers, both Loris Capirossi and Franco Uncini know what they are doing.
Weird weather has already had its effect on the tire allocation. Originally, Bridgestone had brought three specifications of front tire, the soft to deal with the cold mornings, the medium to deal with the warmer afternoons, and the asymmetric tire with soft rubber on the right and a compound closer to the medium on the left, to handle the wind gusting to cool the right side of the tire.
As the name implies, the livery celebrates 30 years of GSX-R sport bikes, which have sold over one million units since their first debut in 1985.
Helping celebrate the special occasion, the 30th anniversary livery bikes will be available globally from Suzuki, though there’s no word right now on how much they will cost in the USA, or when they will be available.