Marquez tops German Grand Prix practice
At a circuit where he hasn’t been beaten for the last five seasons, Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez continued his fine form at Sachsenring by topping the timesheets in Friday’s free practice sessions at the German Grand Prix.
Having topped the morning Free Practice 1 session, Marquez found extra pace in the afternoon FP2 session and set a lap time of 1’21.621 to lead on combined times by 0.119 seconds from Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith, whose best time of 1’21.740 made him second quickest today. Third quickest was Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone with a personal best time of 1’21.824. The three quickest riders today set times quicker the existing Circuit Record Lap of 1’21.846 set by Dani Pedrosa in 2011.
Cool ambient temperatures and a strong breeze throughout the day made for challenging conditions for the riders, with today’s peak track temperature of 38°C being recorded towards the end of FP2. In order to cope well with the short, yet technical Sachsenring circuit in the cool conditions, three different front slick specifications were utilized by the riders today; the soft, asymmetric and medium front slick options. Although all riders started the day using the soft compound front slick to ensure maximum warm-up performance in FP1, the most popular front tire during FP2 was the newly-developed asymmetric front slick that is available for the first time at Sachsenring. This option provided good heat-retention and edge grip on the lesser-used right shoulder with good cornering stability on the left shoulder. Rear tire choice focused on the soft compound for the factory Aprilia and open-class riders, while the factory Ducati, Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha riders mainly used the medium compound rear slick. With warmer temperatures forecast for tomorrow, evaluation of the hard compound rear slick is expected to take place during FP4 which commences at 1330 local time (GMT +2) tomorrow.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department
“The riders had to face challenging conditions today, with cool temperatures in the morning and strong winds in the afternoon. Thankfully, our tire allocation is working well here in Germany so the riders could cope sufficiently with these challenges. As well as offering our asymmetric front option for the first time this year, at Sachsenring we also took the decision to add a fourth front slick option to our allocation, the hard compound front slick, as we could have significantly warmer weather tomorrow and Sunday. So far this weekend our tire allocation is working as we had hoped, with the riders reacting positively to our asymmetric front slick and the overall level of rider safety and performance on offer being good. It is too early to know what the preferred race tire options are, but further testing in what should be warmer temperatures tomorrow afternoon will give us a clearer picture on what tire options will figure in Sunday’s thirty-lap race.”