Jack Miller fought his way to top of the timesheets just in time at the Sachsenring, claiming his fifth pole position of the year minutes before rain arrived in qualifying. The Australian got the job done early with most of his championship rivals badly caught out, leaving them with a lot of work to do in tomorrow’s race.
The form man heading into this weekend was undoubtedly Alex Marquez after back-to-back victories in Catalunya and the Netherlands and the Estrella Galicia star rose straight to the top of the leaderboard in qualifying, setting a 1:27.735 on his second timed lap. Alex’s time stood for ten minutes and Miller not only usurped it, but obliterated it, by going seven tenths faster on the shortest lap on the calendar.
With such a large gap, the other riders were now busy squabbling over second with Karel Hanika overtaking Marquez to set up a Red Bull KTM Ajo 1-2. Marquez struck back soon afterwards, closing to within a tenth of Miller’s benchmark time, but Alexis Masbou went slightly faster eighteen minutes from time, the precise moment that the drizzle began to fall.
Conditions never improved sufficiently for the riders to go faster leaving the front row set, Miller taking pole from Masbou and Marquez with Hanika bumped to the second row where he will be joined by a rejuvenated Danny Kent and Ambrogio’s Brad Binder. Alex Rins was a disappointing seventh ahead of Eric Granado and Juanfran Guevara with Enea Bastianini completing the top ten after being caught up in traffic on his last dry lap.
The big losers in the changeable conditions were Saxoprint-RTG and Sky Racing by VR46 who failed to clock a representative time in the first twenty minutes. Efren Vazquez was visibly annoyed with seventeenth on the grid but his teammate John McPhee fared even worse, qualifying 28th. The Sky VR46 squad had an even tougher day with engine problems halting Romano Fenati in morning practice. The Italian did make it out for qualifying but only set a time good enough for 25th, one place ahead of his teammate Francesco Bagnaia.