Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo returned to form today, scoring an impressive third place in difficult conditions at the Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland. Teammate Valentino Rossi also rode a strong race, pushing up the leader board from twelfth to fourth.
Rain twenty minutes before the start of today’s race ensured a hectic start to the German Grand Prix. At first it was declared to be a wet race, but after the sighting lap the majority of the grid returned to the pit lane to swap wet tires for slicks. Unlike in Assen where the race had been declared ‘delayed’ and two sighting laps given, the ‘wet race’ declaration meant only one sighting lap, resulting in the pit lane exit being closed. This left an almost empty grid with just eight riders present led by Stefan Bradl whilst the rest of the pack jostled in the tight pit lane exit, waiting for the flag to drop.
Due to the cramped pit lane exit and cold brakes Lorenzo was forced over to the curb and had to let himself fall back to 16th position to avoid colliding with other riders or getting a penalty. The Spaniard took a few laps to get a feel for the situation, but then ploughed through the order on his way to the front of the field. He fought and passed numerous riders before dispatching Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso to arrive in seventh place behind Rossi. Lorenzo then took over from his teammate as they passed local rider Stefan Bradl to move in to third and fourth place respectively. With 20 laps to go Lorenzo tried to close down the gap of 5.733 seconds to Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez in front of him, but he was unable to do so, eventually finishing in third place, 10.317 seconds off the front.
Rossi also rode an impressive race. As soon as the lights in the pit lane went off the Italian rider confidently took off, overtaking multiple riders as he found his pace. The Doctor shot up the order and arrived at the back of Bradl’s bike on lap nine. The German pole sitter had started well from pole on slicks but with a wet setting on his bike was no match for the Rossi’s full dry set up. He was soon passed and continued his charge with his teammate first behind and then ahead. Unable to match Lorenzo’s pace, Rossi kept his head and finished in a deserved fourth place, 19.194 behind the front man Marquez.
With third place Lorenzo gains 16 championship points, leaving him fifth in the standings, just two points behind Andrea Dovizioso in fourth. Rossi scores another 13 points, increasing his total to 141 in third place. The gap to Pedrosa in second is now seven points.
I’m satisfied because finally we got another podium. At the last two races I couldn’t do it for some reason. In the practice sessions I went fast on both tracks. I hoped to race in a dry race but in the last moment it started spitting so we went with wet tires and after that we went into the pitlane for slicks. When I started the race and touched the front carbon brake it wasn’t warm enough to work, so to not touch the other riders I had to shortcut the track. I let them pass again because it’s not allowed to make progress this way. The leaders were very strong at the beginning with the intermediate track. They had a gap of six, seven or eight seconds. I just needed one or two tenths to stay with them. Anyway, I had a good race and I did my best. I was very focused and rode very well. If we can gain one or two tenths on the competition we can try to win. Little by little we are coming closer. The bike improved a little with the electronics, the tires are now working better with the bike and I am much fitter than last year. It makes me stronger, also mentally. I will be going to Spain to spend the holiday with my family and my friends and then come back to Yamaha for some more racing.
“The rain was confusing today. Like in Assen we were unlucky with the weather. It rained just after the beginning of the race, but later the track started to dry. We had everybody starting from the pit so it was very difficult and also very dangerous. I was in a quite good position, but I didn’t have enough pace to fight for the podium. I knew that it would be very difficult to beat our rivals here. I hoped to stay with Jorge but today he was faster than us and I arrived fourth. I’m quite happy about the first half of the season. I already got five podiums and four second places. I’m sad that I was not able to win, but I am quite fast and competitive. We have to continue like this and try to beat Marquez.”
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“Another unpredictable race with changing conditions! Jorge proved today that Assen is in the past and his mind is again focused on the podium. He rode a great race. It looks like our competitors were able to get a rhythm earlier than us making it difficult to close the gap on Marquez and Pedrosa. Starting from the pit lane with so many riders wasn't the safest option but it was the only way possible. Valentino was missing a little of the pace he had in morning warm up, but rode well in the changing conditions to complete the top four factory bikes. After nine races, and the last two very complicated ones, we’re all looking forward to a short break before being ready in action again in Indianapolis in a few weeks time.”
Pol Espargaro undertook an intense and eventful German Grand Prix to finish in 7th position, having battled through the field after starting the race from pit lane. As the race deemed wet but as track conditions improved and dried quickly, the rookie opted to switch to his bike with the dry setting.
The young Spaniard completed his first lap in 21st position, but confidently began ascending up the order immediately and by lap eleven the reigning Moto2 World Champion had hauled himself back into the points in 15th having ran a series of low 1.23 lap times, which were on a level with 5th position. He continued to chip away at closing the next rider down, highlighting the young rookie’s determination for success in the eventful race as he seized 10th position on lap 17 and quickly overtook Scott Redding for 9th three laps later.
His perseverance prevailed and he set his fastest lap of the race on the 20th lap, which was 5th quickest overall, whilst hunting down the experienced Ducati Team rider Andrea Dovizioso before overtaking and clinching 8th. The 23 year old Catalan did not stop there and performed a superbly executed move on Cal Crutchlow at turn 12 to snare 7th with three laps remaining, before completing the tricky 30 lap race in this position.
Bradley Smith’s challenging weekend drew to an unfortunate close today with the young British rider falling in the opening laps before mounting a recovery charge but completing the race outside the points. After opting to switch bikes and therefore begin the 30 lap race around the 3671 meter circuit in Germany from the pit lane, Smith quickly set into a rhythm to remain with the advancing pack and battle for a top five result. Such hopes were cut short on the 3rd lap after lucklessly falling, dropping him back to last place. The British star showed tireless grit to finish the race with a consistently quick rhythm with his lap time being comparable to the top 4 in the final laps, but was unfortunately too far adrift from the pack to recover as he finished the race in 19th position.
“I can’t help but be a bit frustrated as the weather once again obstructed our weekend’s work. The rain just before the start again put us in a tricky situation and when we started from pit lane I had Dovizioso in front of me who had an apparent problem, I think he left his pit lane limiter on so I lost precious time and positions straight away. Due to my lack of experience with the bike in slightly wet conditions I was very cautious during the opening laps and it took me a bit of time to find the right rhythm. Also, the track lacks overtaking opportunities due to it’s nature and so this didn’t help also. It’s a real pity as my pace would have allowed us to battle for a top five result but luck was not on our side. Nevertheless, I learnt a lot today and after a few weeks off, we will be back even stronger for the start of the second half of the season at Indy.”
“Today was a big disappointment for me as I was feeling good and knew that I was capable of a strong result here but in the end the crash was all my fault. I made the same call as everyone else to pit and swap bikes, which was the right decision. When the race got underway, I saw Valentino pass Di Meglio at turn one and I knew my race pace was more than good enough to follow Valentino and use him as a reference in these tricky conditions. I got up the inside of Di Meglio and overtook him but as he came back to the apex, I ran onto the inside of the curb, which was still damp, and fell. Of course, it’s a big frustration as the bike, tires and setting all felt positive. Also, my race pace was equivalent to the 5th or 6th placed times again so a good result was certainly on the cards but unfortunately luck was against me. Now I will rest up over the summer and come back more determined to succeed.”
In a race disrupted by pre-race rain, the NGM Forward Racing Team made a good race with Aleix Espargaro, finishing in a well deserved sixth place. With today’s result the Spaniard confirms his 6th position in the Championship with 77 points.
It was another complicated round with the rain started to fall just before the MotoGP race. With the track drying quickly, Espargaro changed from wet set-up to dry after the final warm up lap, meaning they had to start from pit lane. Teammate Colin Edwards, instead, took the start from the grid on slick tires.
Starting from the pit lane, it was a hard race for Aleix, who had to recover several positions and finally finished 6th.
It was a difficult race for Colin Edwards, who took the right decision concerning the tires, but struggled in the first part of the race for lack of confidence. In the second part he had more feeling and started to push, setting his best lap time (1’23.538) on lap 20 out of 30. Unfortunately it was too late to close the gap and he finally finished 20th.
“It was a crazy race with a chaotic start. In the warm up lap we saw that the track was drying quickly so I decided to enter the pit and change bike from wet-set up to dry. The start from the pit lane was a sort of “motocross style” and I enjoyed the race, but I made a mistake choosing the softer compound for the front. In two laps the track was completely dry and in the second part of the race I struggled a lot because the front tire dropped. It’s a pity because I had the pace to fight with Jorge and Valentino. Anyway I’m satisfied with today’s result and happy to leave Germany with the 6th place in the Championship. Now I will enjoy some holidays at the seaside to recharge the batteries for a strong second part of the season.”
“It was a difficult race. I was among the few riders to start on slick tires from the grid, but lap after lap I was loosing positions as I lacked of confidence. In the second part of the race the feeling improved and I could push more. Now I will enjoy some holidays and the next appointment will be Indianapolis, the second US round in the calendar this year.”