The sun brought a smile to every riders’ face in Sachsenring, none more so than those on Yamahas. All four of the Yamaha riders had been unable to crack the top ten and had Friday’s conditions continued, it could have been a very difficult weekend. Improved conditions, the track at 13.9°C as the session began, allowed everyone to push harder and times dropped almost immediately.
As ever the two stage Qualifying system produced a dramatic end to Free Practice 3, riders pushing to the limit to secure a place in the top ten. Riders flicked from fourth to tenth on the timing screens within a matter of seconds as the field hammered around the Sachsenring. Fastest of them all was the king of Sachsenring Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), setting a 1’21.552 to lead the session. Marquez also tried a revised chassis during the session but his fastest time came on his chassis used Assen.
Once again Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) led the Ducati effort, 0.107s back on Marquez. Unlike in Assen, Iannone will start wherever he qualifies in Q2.
After topping Friday practice, Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) kept his pace high and completed the top three.
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) made it four different manufacturers in the top four, his 1’21.880 only 0.060s off Viñales. After having no bikes inside the top ten on Friday, Yamaha showed clear improvements in the warmer conditions as Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completed the top five.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing), Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Yonny Hernandez (Pull & Bear Aspar Ducati Team) rounded out the top ten. The top six were within just 0.3s of each other, the battle for pole is certainly going to be a close affair.
But the biggest story of the session was the continued struggles of Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), the reigning World Champion failing to get into Q2 for the first time in his career. With Rossi up in fourth, it’s clear the M1 is capable of more and Lorenzo will have to dig deep to get out of Q1. With riders such as Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) and Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) in the session, passage is not guaranteed for Lorenzo.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) fell within the first ten minutes of the session at Turn 1. Fortunately it was only a minor fall and he was able to get back out.