- Round: 10 - 2006 MotoGP Sachsenring
- Weather: Dry
- Circuit: Sachsenring
- Circuit Length: 3671
- Lap Record: 1' 23.705 (Sete Gibernau, 2005)
- Fastest Lap Ever: 1' 21.815 (Daniel Pedrosa, 2006)
- Temp: 22ēC
Camel Yamaha Team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards both face an uphill battle in tomorrow's German Grand Prix after struggling to come to terms with the undulating demands of the Sachsenring circuit in the final free practice and qualifying session today. Neither rider was able to find an adequate setting for the YZR-M1 in yesterday's opening sessions and despite making progress today they did not take the necessary steps forward required to make a challenge for the front row of the grid, which is headed by Dani Pedrosa (Honda) for the second successive race.
As the action got underway below clear blue skies and pleasant summer temperatures of 22ēC, Rossi's main difficulty was balancing the intense force exerted on the front end of the bike at this circuit, a problem exacerbated by the extra rear grip offered by the softer qualifying tyres. Whilst the Italian is hopeful of working on a solution with his team overnight, Edwards is less optimistic having been unable to exactly pinpoint the root of his problems and leaving only tomorrow's 20-minute warm-up to clarify an adequate set-up and tyre choice for the race.
Rossi will aim to make as much progress as possible early in the race as he starts from the fourth row in eleventh spot whilst Edwards has an even bigger challenge ahead as he looks to remount from a row further back in fifteenth.
Valentino Rossi (11th - 1'22.868; 32 laps);
"The race setting is not so bad but things were very different on the qualifying tyre. We are getting too much weight onto the front end of the bike and when the rear qualifying tyre grips so much this pushes the front even harder and I almost crashed a couple of times. My hand is still a bit sore but to be honest when I am riding I don't even think about it and this is not what is troubling us today. It looks like tomorrow will be tough because Dani Pedrosa has a very fast pace but I am starting from a long way back. Unfortunately I can't say that we are down in eleventh because I was unlucky; today we deserve to be in eleventh and we have a lot of work to do. It's difficult to overtake at this track and you need a good setting to make up positions in the race. At the moment our bike is not quite ready and this situation is not limited to today - it seems we have struggled in practice all year. Once again I need another great job from my mechanics tonight so that I can try and chase the lead group tomorrow."
Colin Edwards (15th - 1'23.087; 29 laps);
"I'm feeling disappointed and frustrated tonight because we've tried everything - changed the steering head column, the rear links, the swingarm links - but not got anywhere. The bike is a little better than yesterday but it is still not fast enough and when I'm following other guys around it seems as though they are running at a different track. Honestly, I think the team has worked harder here than at any other circuit this year but it's just not happening for us and we need a miracle now. The bike is a bit of a handful at the moment and the worrying thing is that I don't know exactly where we can find the improvement in time for tomorrow's race. Anyway, we'll keep working and see if we can come up with something in the morning."
Davide Brivio - Camel Yamaha Team Director;
"Again it will be a difficult start to the race for us, with Valentino and Colin on the fourth and fifth rows. We are struggling with the qualifying tyre, even though Valentino's race pace is not so bad - very similar to Pedrosa and Hayden. The problem for him now is his position on the grid because it is a big disadvantage at such a tight circuit like this. We will do our best to make the right changes for him in the morning and hopefully we can come up with something for Colin too. We need a big effort from the whole team over the next 24 hours and I'm sure our riders will do their bit to perform."
Carlos Checa (12th, 1'22.964, 33 laps);
"Of course for us personally this is good as we are quite close to Valentino and at this moment he is the best rider even if here his position is not his usual. This weekend we have worked quite well heading in the right direction and making advances with the Dunlop race tyres but we still have some limitations especially with the qualifying tyres. We are ready for tomorrow with a pretty good setup and hopefully we can build on what we have been doing in the recent races. We cannot be perfectly satisfied with this situation because it is clear that all riders on Yamaha are struggling around here. "Anyway for the race I am more confident than I am with qualifying. We have a good tyre and I think the setting we have chosen for the race we will have a good pace but hopefully even though warmup is early tomorrow there will be enough heat in the track to do some more final testing to make sure we have made the right decisions. I must get a good start as if we are too far back in the first
corner with how close the lap times are it will be very difficult to move up many positions as it is also very hard to overtake around here.
James Ellison (18th 1'24.464, 28 laps);
"I'm not happy as although I dropped my times, yesterday's sessions were a loss. With the setup we had on Friday you kind of lose your confidence because we had so many problems it takes time to build up confidence again. If you arrive at a circuit and the bike works it's awesome because you can build on it all weekend but when you start bad like it's very difficult to get your head up to speed again. We've been chipping away and slowly building to the times we wanted to get but we really wanted to get into the 23 second bracket. We made a couple of mistakes with the last qualifier so I'm very disappointed with that to be honest. We had another tyre lined up but we just ran out of time. We might've gone quicker, we might've gone slower - who knows - it would've just been nice to try it. I'm not happy at all as I have only qualified five-tenths faster than I did last year and I'm on a bike way more capable than what I had. That's the result, so I have to live with it and try and get a good start to get away with them and hopefully move up a few places."
Dani Pedrosa, 62 laps, 227'60 Km: "I'm happy to get on pole position but the most important thing really was to get on the front row because the track is very tight at the beginning and there are only two or three passing points here. I'm fine after the crash this morning, but the bike was not so lucky. The mechanics worked very hard through lunch to have the bike ready for qualifying and first of all this afternoon I just tried to run-in the bike and check everything. Then I pushed harder and my lap time was good, so overall I'm pleased with how it went today. Of course the most important thing is to use the front row position to get a good start tomorrow and see how the race goes."
Nicky Hayden, 64 laps, 234'94 Km: "I'm happy to be on the front row and this is the best I've qualified for a while, so it's been positive. We've been close out of the gate and we haven't had to make a lot of big changes to the set-up, we've just been sweetening it up, and I think we've got a pretty strong package this weekend. It's been one of the better weekends so far this year. I would have liked to get down into the 1m 21s today and I thought it was possible, but getting on the front row of the grid is really important here and I'll be planning to get a good start tomorrow. We'll try and find a little extra pace in the warm-up and then I'm looking forward to a dogfight tomorrow in the race."
Loris Capirossi, 5th fastest, 1m 22.329s;
"I tried two different qualifiers this afternoon, the first I didn't like but the second was okay and if I hadn't made a mistake at the final turn I would have been faster. I tried again but on another fast lap I ran into traffic, so I wasn't able to improve. Anyway, fifth fastest and second row isn't so bad. As far as race tyres go we are okay, I ran a pretty good pace. In fact today was hotter than yesterday so I used harder tyres and was able to set my best times in race trim. We still have a few front-end problems which we hope to solve in morning warm-up. On the whole I'm happy with the way things are going here and even though I'll be starting from the second row I think we can have a good race."
Sete Gibernau, 7th fastest, 1m 22.469s;
"The pain is okay, but I don't seem to have any strength in the arm, so I'm done through the last part of the track, from the very first lap. It must be a muscle or a nerve or something that got irritated in the accident, because the arm just falls down now, it's got zero strength, so after all the left-handers here I'm really struggling during braking for the last two corners. I don't know what we can do. If it's pain you can deal with pain but I don't know what we'll do because we can't do something like lock the arm. Maybe I'll just pray for the race because right now it's very difficult. Apart from that the bike and tyres are working good and the team is doing a great job. Things aren't bad apart for this problem."
"I can't say I'm ecstatic with the position as we're starting from the third row! We had a few little set-up problems. We changed something this morning and it didn't really work how we wanted it to, so we had to change it back and lost a bit of track time. After that we worked hard with Bridgestone to find the best tyres. I would like to have another half a second on race tyres, but we are working as hard as we can and Bridgestone has brought us some good stuff. We will have a good think about it overnight and I'll get a good night's rest and come out stronger tomorrow. We may try some things in the morning to get a better situation, but at the end of the day when the flag drops all I can do is give it my best shot!"
"Not our best qualifying of the year but it was another circuit I didn't know. We made big steps from yesterday to today, both in set-up and lap times. We have got a tyre for the race as I did a long run in this afternoon's session, and I feel quite confident with it. We have struggled here a bit with a few things but my mechanics and the whole team are working hard to get it right. We have a few things to try tomorrow and hopefully they will work."
Marco Melandri (6th, 1'22"420°):
"I am very pleased with our work in
qualifying for this race, the bike is working well and the Michelin
tyres have given us some very good results. It will be important to make
a good start tomorrow and stay with the lead group as there are not a
lot of places to overtake on this circuit. The objective for today was
to claim a place on one of the front two rows and although I did that, I
could not take full advantage of the qualifying tyre to get on the front
row. Tomorrow it will be a very long race so am pleased that my physical
condition has improved a lot from the last race. My right shoulder
should not be too badly affected as there are so many left-hand
Toni Elias (16th, 1'23"660):
"I suffered a lot in the qualifying session
because of my back. It really began to hurt after yesterday's session
and felt even worse today. Right now I am very tired and hurting a lot.
The left-hand corners are not helping me at all and so it will be a
tough race tomorrow. I am happy to have made it on to the grid and my
objective is just to finish the race."
Alex Hofmann #66 (17th - 1'24.115): "I'm quite satisfied about the work we made today. I feel ready for the race, I rode with a constant rhythm and this makes me more confident. I would like to ride with lower laptimes but today it was not possible to make anything more than what we actually made. Let's hope that the gap we have from the first riders will come down some more during the race, I would like to make a good result here in front of all my fans. This afternoon, with the qualifying tyres, I rode like the best riders preceding me in the classification in some sectors of the track. In the first part of the circuit, I wasn't losing much ground. Unfortunately, in the last lap, after having done my best first partial, I lose the front and crashed. This doesn't help me about the confidence. I'm quite disappointed about it because I'm a rider that usually crash a few times only. Anyway, we are ready for tomorrow's race and I will give the maximum to in front of my public".
Jose Luis Cardoso #30 (19th - 1'24.651): "I can't be satisfied with my position but, from the last races, we are closer to the first riders with our rhythm and laptimes. I'm going on improving my feeling on our DUCATI and I hope that everything will be alright tomorrow. I want to make a good race, all my Team really deserves it".
Shinya Nakano: 4th - 1'22.273;
"The struggle we had to find a good set-up yesterday continued this morning, but then we switched tyres and made some changes to the rear suspension settings ahead of this afternoon's qualifying session and the bike was transformed. It's still not 100 percent there, but I was up with the leaders on race tyres this afternoon, and I'm confident that some more fine-tuning during warm-up tomorrow will produce even more of an improvement. Sachsenring is a difficult circuit to pass at, so qualifying near the front of the grid is critical. We were aiming for the front two rows this afternoon, so I'm happy enough to be starting from fourth on the grid. I also have to say a special thanks to all the Kawasaki supporters at turn four, who were passionate in their support every time I came past on a fast lap. It was really motivating, and I reckon all that waving was worth an extra three tenths of a second each lap at least! I hope they will be as enthusiastic with their support during tomorrow's race, and that we can give them a result to really cheer about."
Randy de Puniet: 13th - 1'22.974;
"Obviously I'm not so happy to only qualify down in 13th place for tomorrow's race, but I just didn't seem to be able to get the best from the qualifying tyres today. We made numerous changes to the bike during practice and qualifying, with positive results, and my confidence on race tyres has increased with every track session. I'm still missing some time through the first section of the track, so this is an area I will focus on during warm-up tomorrow. We will also try a few further small changes to the set-up of the bike during warm-up, but our biggest problem for the race tomorrow is the fact that I'll be starting from the fifth row of the grid and Sachsenring doesn't have so many obvious passing places. Despite this, I think that with a little luck it's still possible to secure a good result tomorrow, and that's exactly what I'll be aiming for."
Makoto Tamada - Konica Minolta Honda Rider (10° - 1'22.866");
"After these two days of practice I can say that I reached a good feeling with my Honda RC211V, in particular regarding the control of the slidings that are very frequent on this track. I'm satisfied with the front tyre whilst tomorrow morning we will have to finish the last test on the rear tyre as the weather conditions absolutely improved today afternoon and we will have to race with high temperatures.
With a good start, I can race well because today I saw I can turn with a good pace."
Session 1 :
- 1. D. Pedrosa, Honda (ESP) 1' 21.815
- 2. K. Roberts, Team Roberts KR (USA) 1' 21.907
- 3. N. Hayden, Honda (USA) 1' 22.083
- 4. S. Nakano, Kawasaki (JPN) 1' 22.273
- 5. L. Capirossi, Ducati (ITA) 1' 22.329
- 6. M. Melandri, Honda (ITA) 1' 22.420
- 7. S. Gibernau, Ducati (ESP) 1' 22.469
- 8. C. Stoner, Honda (AUS) 1' 22.577
- 9. J. Hopkins, Suzuki (USA) 1' 22.701
- 10. M. Tamada, Honda (JPN) 1' 22.866
- 11. V. Rossi, Yamaha (ITA) 1' 22.868
- 12. C. Checa, Yamaha (ESP) 1' 22.964
- 13. R. De Puniet, Kawasaki (FRA) 1' 22.974
- 14. C. Vermeulen, Suzuki (AUS) 1' 23.050
- 15. C. Edwards, Yamaha (USA) 1' 23.087
- 16. T. Elias, Honda (ESP) 1' 23.660
- 18. J. Ellison, Yamaha (GBR) 1' 24,464.000