Marc Marquez resumed his dominance of MotoGP by claiming pole position for the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring. The world champion leads an all-Honda front row ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Stefan Bradl and took advantage of a costly crash from his teammate to snatch top spot in the closing minutes.
Marc was the man to beat in final practice but Bradl set the early pace in Q2, boosting hopes of a pole position for the home favourite. The German clocked a 1:21.369 on his first run but Pedrosa was in possession of pole position at the halfway point after a 1:21.233, Marquez unable to do better than third on his first set of tyres.
Bradl improved ever-so-slightly on his second run to consolidate his front row grid slot and Pedrosa was looking to do likewise before it all went wrong at turn one, one of his least favourite corners on the calendar. The front end of the Honda RC213V washed away at the start of his flying lap and with only three minutes on the clock, his session was over.
Dani’s mood wasn’t helped when he saw Marquez come back around either with the championship leader going fastest on a 1:21.126 and just to rub salt in the wounds, Marc broke into the 1:20s on his next attempt to take pole well out of his rivals’ reach. Pedrosa and Bradl complete the front row with Aleix Espargaro leading an all-Yamaha second row, outpacing the factory machines ridden by Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.
Bradley Smith had hoped to be the quickest Yamaha rider this afternoon but the Briton’s miserable weekend continued with his fourth crash of the weekend. The Tech 3 rider had fallen for the third time in final practice, suffering a gashed leg in the process, and his fall late in Q2 saw him demoted to ninth behind Andrea Iannone and his own teammate Pol Espargaro. Alvaro Bautista starts tenth with Q1 survivors Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden for company on row four.
Q1 looked set to be a three-way fight between the Ducatis of Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow and Yonny Hernandez but the trio were upstaged by Hayden’s late flyer. The American pulled a 1:22.374 out of nowhere to finish fastest in the session while Crutchlow fell out after a high-speed crash at the notorious turn eleven. The Briton will start fifteenth tomorrow, one place behind compatriot Scott Redding, with Hernandez just ahead of both in thirteenth.