SACHSENRING: Aleix Espargaro put the factory Honda and Yamaha teams in the shade in practice for Sunday’s German MotoGP while world championship leader Marc Marquez shrugged off a painful crash.
Espargaro on a NGM Forward Racing Yamaha clocked a
best time of 1min 22.041sec,
having been fastest in both sessions.
World champion Marquez, on the leading factory Honda, was second quickest, 0.117sec behind fellow-Spaniard Espargaro, having suffeerd a big crash earlier in the day in the first session.
“I feel great, and it was fantastic to ride here, like last year. We explored a lot of different settings,” said Espargaro, who achieved a career-best fourth place at Assen last time out.
“I did 22 laps on the rear soft tyre, it was strong till the end. I think we can race with the soft like in Assen but the temperature can change a lot here in Germany.”
Marquez hurt his neck in the crash which came at Turn 3 with the Spaniard admitting it was caused by a problem with the gears on his all-conquering machine.
“The day went very well, because even though I crashed I was fortunate not to get injured, but the impact was hard. The crash was a little strange, but when we looked at the telemetry later on we understood why it happened,” said the world champion.
“It’s a long left turn in second gear on the throttle the whole time, and I accidentally touched the gear shift lever with the toe of my boot. This engaged another gear and as I was leant so far over — and had the gas open — the rear wheel slid out and I was thrown off.”
Jorge Lorenzo, on a factory Yamaha, was third fastest at a track where he was missing last year because of a serious shoulder injury picked up at Assen and which compromised his title defence.
He was 0.327sec off the pace with Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP), Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) and Valentino Rossi (factory Yamaha) making up the top six.
Marquez is chasing a ninth win in nine races on Sunday with the flying Spaniard on course to have the title wrapped up in record time. AFP