MotoGP: Rain Provides Exciting Qualifying at Sachsenring

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With a mixture of wet and dry conditions occurring during the race-week for MotoGP at Sachsenring, qualifying for the German GP was a strictly rainy affair. The great equalizer, the rain proved to throw a wrench in the usual procession of riders, as MotoGP gets ready for its second round of three back-to-back race-weekends.

Adding drama to the event was the deadlock in the 2012 MotoGP Championship between Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner, as Alvaro Bautista took out the Spaniard in the first corner of the Dutch TT. For his crimes against Spanish supremacy, Bautista will start from the back of the grid, regardless of his qualifying effort today.

This means that the San Carlo Gresini Honda rider will start 21st, instead of 11th during tomorrow’s race, but if the weather continues to be miserable, that penalty might not be as bad in application as it sounds in theory.

A fairly dull qualifying session in the early minutes, the fight for the pole position was tremendous in the closing minutes of Saturday’s afternoon session, as a multitude of riders topped the time sheets in quick succession, lap after lap. The bout saw German Stefan Bradl pleasing the crowd as he sat on the front row for a good portion of qualifying, though ultimately the LCR Honda rider would drop to the back of the second row — still a good showing for the satellite Honda rider.

Unsurprisingly Casey Stoner took pole, though on his #2 bike, as his favorite stead gave up the ghost mid-session. Particular about his gear and bikes, Stoner prefers to wear leathers until the fall apart, and favors one of his Honda RC213V race bikes heavily over the other, which could be a relic of his Ducati days, where there was measurable differences between the “identical” machines.

Also having their time in the spotlight, Ben Spies, Dani Pedrosa, Cal Crutchlow, and Nicky Hayden all had a chance at playing head of the class. Though in the end, it was Spies and Pedrosa who rounded out the front row, in that order.

Noticeably quick from the CRTs was Aleix Espargaro, who put in three-quarters of a second on his teammate Randy de Puniet. In that mix was Bautista and Barbara, while Colin Edwards proved some more CRT bread for that prototype sandwich. Edwards’ result is a marked improvement for the NGM Forward squad, which has struggled with its Bosch electronics system, and is said to be considering a switch to the FTR/Honda CRT package.

The weather is uncertain for Sunday’s race, though many believe rain will continue to have a presence. If it is a dry race, riders will be hoping for a dry warm-up as well, having only had one dry session so far this week to setup their bikes for the German circuit.

Qualifying Results from the German GP at Sachsenring, Germany:

Pos. Rider Nation Team Bike KM/H Time Diff.
1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 271.2 1’31.796
2 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 276.6 1’31.989 0.193
3 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 271.0 1’32.081 0.285
4 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 273.8 1’32.288 0.492
5 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 276.4 1’32.381 0.585
6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 269.7 1’32.510 0.714
7 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 272.7 1’32.795 0.999
8 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 272.8 1’33.205 1.409
9 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 273.1 1’33.217 1.421
10 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 263.5 1’33.900 2.104
11 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 260.7 1’34.088 2.292
12 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 263.5 1’34.542 2.746
13 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 252.8 1’34.649 2.853
14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 259.6 1’34.651 2.855
15 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 256.6 1’34.938 3.142
16 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda 250.1 1’35.590 3.794
17 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 257.8 1’35.595 3.799
18 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR 259.1 1’35.962 4.166
19 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 256.4 1’36.183 4.387
20 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 253.7 1’36.355 4.559
21 Franco BATTAINI ITA Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 254.1 1’36.438 4.642

Source: MotoGP; Photo: LCR Honda