Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) continued his historic run of pole positions at the Sachsenring today, securing his tenth consecutive pole at the rollercoaster German racetrack. The 26-year-old Spaniard has taken pole every time he has visited the Sachsenring since 2010: he was quickest in 125cc in 2010, quickest in the Honda-powered Moto2 series in 2011 and 2012 and quickest every time in MotoGP since he graduated to the premier class in 2013.
Even more remarkable, the five-times premier-class World Champion converted each of his previous nine poles into nine consecutive race victories here. Tomorrow he hopes to convert his tenth pole into a tenth victory, which would further increase his series advantage, which currently stands at 44 points, with eight of 19 rounds done.
Marquez has been imperious so far this weekend: three tenths up at the end of yesterday, close to two tenths up at the end of FP3. His love for this layout has much to do with his love of dirt-track training, which usually has riders turning left; Sachsenring is one of only a few anti-clockwise MotoGP tracks in Europe.
During the two days of practice here Marquez has used his two RC213V machines with different chassis: one equipped with a conventional aluminium-alloy frame, the other with an HRC development alloy frame featuring a carbon-fibre coating. As always Honda and HRC are working to improve the performance of its machines, using tomorrow’s technology today.
Fellow HRC rider Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) produced a heroic performance this afternoon, qualifying on the second row of the grid despite a nasty knee injury sustained in a freak cycling incident earlier in the week. The 33-year-old snapped the ACL ligament in his right knee but has kept riding, without slackening his pace at all.
Crutchlow was an incredible fourth fastest at the end of FP3 and sixth fastest in qualifying, less than seven tenths of a second behind Marquez.
His team-mate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) was also in courageous mood today. The 27-year-old from Chiba finished the Q1 qualifying session second quickest to win promotion into Q2, despite the injuries he sustained at Assen last Sunday when he was taken out by a rival at high speed.
When Nakagami is off the motorcycle he needs crutches to walk, but once he climbs on his bike he grits his teeth and pushes to the limit. He ended Q2 tenth fastest, less than second behind Marquez, to lead the fourth row of the grid.
HRC test rider Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) is contesting his home Grand Prix as a replacement for the team’s three-times MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) who is recuperating from a heavy tumble during practice for last weekend’s Dutch round at Assen.
Bradl has done a sterling job here – both preparing for the race and testing some new parts for the RC213V. The 29-year-old German, who last raced in May’s Spanish GP round, qualified 14th and will be aiming to equal or better the excellent tenth-place finish he took at Jerez in May. Later this month Bradl will race a Honda CBR1000RR in the globally important Suzuka 8 Hours race in Japan.