Marc Marquez secured pole position for the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring on another dramatic day for the championship contenders. Series leader Dani Pedrosa was the favourite heading into Saturday but he joined rival Jorge Lorenzo on the list of injuries by crashing heavily in morning practice.
Pedrosa’s accident came at a point where he appeared to touring around turn one but despite that, the Repsol Honda RC213V highsided spectacularly, launching him into the air before a painful landing on his left shoulder. Pedrosa was initially cleared of any collarbone injury like that of Lorenzo on Friday, but he was advised to sit out qualifying before a decision is made on his status for the race.
Without his two chief rivals, Marquez took full advantage with a 1:21.849 on his second lap of Q2 but Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi were keen to take the fight to the rookie, pushing him down to third. Marquez knew the importance of pole position with his rivals out of action though and returned on his second run with a 1:21.311, putting three tenths into Crutchlow and pole beyond the Briton’s reach.
Crutchlow did improve himself late on but his best effort was a tenth shy of the no.93 but it did see him nudge in front of Rossi by 0.059s. Stefan Bradl threatened a fairytale pole position on home soil with his pace in practice but a crash early in Q2 at the Omega corner put him on his back foot, restricting him to fourth. Aleix Espargaro worked wonders to qualify fifth on his Aspar CRT machine while Nicky Hayden was Ducati’s top performer in sixth.
Bradley Smith kept up his run of strong qualifying displays with seventh ahead of Alvaro Bautista and Andrea Dovizioso but the stars of Saturday had to be Claudio Corti and Danilo Petrucci with the two Italians breaking into the second qualifying session. The pair will start tenth and eleventh with Dani Pedrosa set to line up twelfth if he’s medically cleared to race.
Another rider who will need to pass a fitness test on Sunday will be Andrea Iannone who tumbled at turn one during FP4, dislocating his right shoulder. As a result, he was unable to take his Pramac Ducati out in qualifying and with Michele Pirro only managing fifteenth, the team will be keen to put today’s events behind them.