It’s great to be back on Asphalt & Rubber again, sitting next to Jensen in a media center at a race track, preparing photos for the A&R readers.
It’s great to be back at a World Superbike race as well, where the atmosphere is more relaxed than MotoGP. The bikes are just as shiny, and apparently you can just mosey down to your local dealer and buy one!
The bike above rolled right off the show room floor, I’m told. It would look great in my garage.
There’s also a jovial family atmosphere. Here two generations of Haslam watch Superpole 1, which is more amusing to some than to others.
Chaz Davies took the honors in Superpole 2 on a day that featured two Ducatis at the top of the time sheet.
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.
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.
Valentino Rossi celebrates his first victory from pole position since San Marino in 2009.
Jorge Lorenzo got a great start from 8th on the grid, but never looked liked troubling Rossi and Marquez at the front.
Marc Marquez felt aggrieved not to be credited with the win after the last lap move into the final chicane, which pushed Valentino Rossi wide and across the gravel trap.
Over the past two years, Marc Márquez and his team have proven to be a master of strategy. They have found a number of innovations, most notably the two-stop, three-run strategy during qualifying, and the bunny-hop bike swap during flag-to-flag races.
Santi Hernandez has earned his reputation as a brilliant crew chief, and as a strategist capable of finding advantages in places where other teams simply haven’t thought of looking.
So for Márquez to first miss out on going straight to Q2, and then make a fatal error again in Q1 leaving him in thirteenth is frankly shocking.
Jorge Lorenzo looks a strong bet to continue his recent winning run.
19th on the grid for tomorrow’s race for Nicky Hayden.
Valentino Rossi’s 2015 Mugello special helmet and its impressive mirrored finish.
Motorcycle racing would be a good deal less complicated if it was an indoor sport. Leaving the complications of housing an area covering several square kilometers to one side for a moment, having a track which was not subject to rain, wind or shine would make things a lot more predictable.
No longer would the riders and teams have to worry about whether the track was wet enough for rain tires, or slicks could be used with a dry line forming. Nor would they have to worry about track grip dropping as temperatures rose beyond a certain point.
Or differences in grip from one part of the track to the next, as clouds hide the sun and strong winds steal heat from the asphalt. There would be only the bike, the rider, and the track.
Jorge Lorenzo had to settle for 3rd place on the grid after a faulty sensor on his Moviestar Yamaha caused him problems in his 2nd qualifying run.
A fantastic effort by Andrea Iannone to qualify 5th despite his shoulder injury.
A 6th place start tomorrow for Bradley Smith. He’ll be hoping to capitalize on his best qualifying of the season in tomorrow’s race.
Qualifying confirmed what we had already seen on Friday: the old Jorge Lorenzo is back. The Movistar Yamaha rider was fastest in FP1 and FP2 yesterday. He was fastest in FP3 in the cool of Saturday morning, and he was quick in the heat of FP4.
He wasn’t fastest in the one session of truly free practice for the MotoGP class – Andrea Iannone put in a quick lap on the Ducati, proving once again that the GP15 is an outstanding motorcycle – but he posted five laps faster than Iannone’s second-quickest lap.
Then, during qualifying, he set a pace which no one could follow. Using a three-stop strategy, copied shamelessly from Marc Márquez last, Lorenzo posted a 1’38.2 on his second rear tire, then became the first man to lap the Jerez circuit in less than 1’38, stopping the clock at 1’37.910.
That is a mind-bendingly fast lap. Especially given the conditions. Set in the middle of the afternoon, in the blistering heat: air temperatures of over 30°, and track temps of nearly 50°.
Set on a track which is notoriously greasy when it’s hot, offering the worst grip of the year, especially now that Misano has been resurfaced. Set on asphalt that was laid eleven years ago, and has been used very intensively ever since.
If there was ever a time and a place to break the pole record at Jerez, Saturday afternoon was not it. Nobody told Jorge Lorenzo, though.