Ducati Marlboro Team riders Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden will both start from the higher echelons of the grid in the German Grand Prix tomorrow after qualifying third and fourth fastest respectively in difficult conditions at Sachsenring this afternoon. A torrential rainstorm severely reduced grip levels and huge sections of standing water on the track made for a crash-strewn session.
No fewer than nine riders crashed out, seven of them in the tricky downhill turn eight, including Hayden. The American spectacularly high-sided his GP9 and incredibly landed on fellow Ducati rider Niccolo Canepa, who was also sent tumbling into the gravel. Thankfully Hayden, who also suffered a gearbox problem early in the session, already had a fast lap in the bag that proved enough for his best grid position of the season. With track conditions growing more and treacherous due to the continuing downpour, Stoner decided to take a rain check for the final few minutes with his place on the front row secure.
Casey Stoner Speaks… (3rd; 1’33.759)
"That was a crazy session because of all the standing water on the track and the grip levels were minimal. There were riders crashing all over the place so once we knew we had a decent lap time in the bag I decided to sit out the last few minutes of the session because the last thing I needed was a crash. I’m still feeling the effects of the qualifying crash at Laguna two weeks ago so to be honest the first thing I’m pleased about is to have stayed upright today, the second thing is to be on the front row! I have to take my hat off to Rossi and Lorenzo today because whilst everybody else was sliding around all over the place those two looked like they were on rails. They are clearly the guys to beat again tomorrow in wet or dry conditions although to be honest I’d prefer it to be wet – at least that way I know I am physically fit enough to be strong to the end of the race!"
Nicky Hayden Speaks… (4th; 1’34.404)
"In some ways the session was a complete disaster but I ended up with my best grid position of the year so I’ll take it! I went out on the first bike and immediately something happened to the gearbox going into turn one and I almost went down. It was stuck in second gear so I had to ride it all the way back to the pits like that. I didn’t feel as comfortable on my second bike but I knew that was all I had to work with for the rest of the session so I was a little tentative. Then we made a couple of changes and got going pretty good. Things were coming together so I went out with ten minutes to go, got right on the pace and felt I could do something special. I set my best time through the first split but then in the downhill section I lost the rear and there was no way of getting it back, unfortunately it took Niccolo out too. I’m basically okay from the crash and I hope Niccolo is okay too because it was my fault. I was trying too hard when it was getting too slippery – it was raining harder but I felt like I could go faster"
Dani Pedrosa (Honda – 2007), 1’23.082 – 159.066km/h
Casey Stoner (Ducati – 2008), 1’21.067 – 163.020 Km/h
Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), 1’32.520 – 142.84 km/h
MotoGP Race 2009
30 laps (110.130km)