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Rossi Returns to the Front Row

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi made a welcome return to the front row of the grid in third position today in qualifying for Sunday’s Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland. The quick fire 15minute session proved to be the best qualifying performance by the Italian nine-time Champion since Le Mans over two years ago, his last appearance on the front row.

Rossi wrapped up the fourth free practice prior to qualifying as the fastest rider with the second fastest lap of the weekend so far, a 1’21.978 lap. He then carried that speed straight through to qualifying, slotting straight into third position on his second lap with a 1’22.44. He stepped up the pace immediately and slotted into the top spot only to be knocked down to second a few seconds later by Cal Crutchlow. With seven minutes remaining Rossi made a pit stop for fresh rubber and returned to the track. Another flying lap saw him secure third and a front row start with a 1’21.493, just 0.182 seconds from pole.

Valentino Rossi 3rd / 1’21.493 / 10 laps

“I’m very happy, from one side not a lot because the first position was very close but the target was to come back to the front row and I was able to. I was able to do it in a good way because I did a good lap riding well and also my gap to pole position is very close which is very important. I feel good with the bike, I have a good setting and I have quite a good pace also. Now we have to put everything together for tomorrow and try to slide the rear a bit less. I am a bit worried about the second part of the race; that will be very hard for everybody. If we want to stay with Marc we have to make a small improvement for tomorrow. Anyway, I am so happy, the last front row for me was in 2010 in Le Mans, a long, long time ago. Tomorrow it will be a strange feeling to have nobody in front!

For Jorge it is a great pity because he made a small mistake and unfortunately landed on the wrong shoulder. After what he did in Assen he was very close to a superhero. It’s a pity also for his championship but now I think he’s made the right choice to take some quiet time to recover. For him the Championship will be hard but still not impossible before the end.”

Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director

“Today was an important first row for Vale, we know he is capable of starting from the front so it’s good to see him do this. I think his speed and pace is pretty good which gives us confidence for tomorrow. It’s not going to be an easy race, it’s going to be long and really tough but I think we are ready for it. Fortunately Jorge’s surgery went really well which is another important point from today. We miss having him here challenging for victory this weekend but he has made the right choice to recover as fully as possible. We wish him all the best and we wait for him to return even stronger than before.”

Crutchlow bounces back to claim stunning front row in Germany

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow showed tremendous mental and physical resilience today to secure a stunning place on the front row of the grid for the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland. Battered and bruised after two high-speed crashes in practice yesterday, the British rider demonstrated his phenomenal fighting spirit to claim second position in this afternoon’s qualifying session at the tight and twisty Sachsenring.

The 27-year-old is nursing numerous cuts, bruises and friction burns after a physically punishing start to the eighth round of the 2013 World Championship campaign. Far from being in peak physical shape today, Crutchlow managed to brush off the aches and pains to this morning to finish sixth overall in practice. With his confidence and feeling on Yamaha’s YZR-M1 restored in advance of the 15-minute qualifying session, Crutchlow put up another terrific fight for pole position.

He led the session with a 1.21.640 and a brilliant late burst of speed saw him improve his pace to a 1.21.434. That put him only 0.123s behind Marc Marquez, who denied Crutchlow a second successive premier class pole position. Crutchlow certainly won’t be back to 100% fitness in time for tomorrow’s 30-lap race but his pace throughout a difficult weekend means he is optimistic he can mount a serious challenge for a fourth podium of the season.

Bradley Smith enjoyed another positive and productive day and he managed to improve his pace by almost 0.5s in the decisive qualifying session. A best lap of 1.22.758 secured him a top 10 finish in practice and in full time attack mode in qualifying he was able to drop his pace down to a 1.22.297 that secured him seventh position on the grid. Smith was just over 0.9s off pole position and a second successive start from inside the top six only eluded the 22-year-old by 0.140s. Smith’s main objective in tomorrow’s race will be a fast start, with the tight and twisty Sachsenring track hard to overtake on as the British rider goes in search of a sixth straight top six finish in his impressive rookie MotoGP season.

Cal Crutchlow 2nd – 1.21.434 – 10 laps:

“I am really pleased to be back on the front row after all the drama of yesterday. They were two really big crashes in practice and my body took a bit of beating to be honest. The first crash was completely my fault because I made a mistake on the brakes but the second was because the front tyre was cold. It was definitely my worst day of the season, so to put all that behind me and get a front row when I am not close to my physical best is a great achievement. When I woke up this morning I didn’t feel that great because my body took a big impact in a few places. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to be able to ride and just to be out there is great. It is going to be a very difficult race in my condition but I will be giving it my all to get another podium. Today was a great result for my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew. I gave them plenty of work to do yesterday but they did a great job and as always I am grateful for their efforts.”

Bradley Smith 7th 1.22.297 – 10 laps:

“Seventh position is a great result and to do a 1.22.2 was a bit of surprise. We still need to work a bit more on my confidence and understand the Bridgestone tyres a bit better. They work really well at this track and it is a case of understanding how much you can push them. For the race tomorrow the start will be so important. The track is so tight and twisty that the first three laps will be vital to achieving a good result. Hopefully we can improve the bike but I feel for the full race distance we are in a good position and I am happy with the set-up. I just need to make sure we can put in a consistent pace because it will be a very long race.”

2013 MotoGP Germany

Sachsenring 13/07/2013

1 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 1’21.311
2 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 1’21.434
3 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1’21.493
4 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 1’21.862
5 Aleix Espargaro ART ESP 1’21.887
6 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1’22.157
7 Bradley Smith Yamaha GBR 1’22.297
8 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 1’22.484
9 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 1’22.561
10 Claudio Corti FTR Kawasaki ITA 1’23.059
11 Danilo Petrucci Ioda-Suter ITA 1’23.361
12 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’22.221
13 Randy De Puniet ART FRA 1’23.152
14 Hector Barbera FTR ESP 1’23.333
15 Michele Pirro Ducati ITA 1’23.349

Circuit Length:
3671

Weather:
Dry

Lap Record:
1’21.846
(Daniel Pedrosa, 1-1-2011)

Fastest Lap Ever:
1’21.067
(Casey Stoner, 13-7-2008)

Last Years Winner:
Daniel Pedrosa