Hundredths of a second the difference on German GP Friday for the Repsol Honda Team

2022-06-18 01:23
A bruising first day in Germany for the Repsol Honda Team, but both Pol Espargaro and Stefan Bradl put in their maximum – unrewarded by just a few tenths but confident of more on Saturday.

Europe’s heatwave was in full affect at the Sachsenring as temperatures in the mid 20s graced the track all day and temperatures are only set to rise further over the weekend. The summer conditions meant times were immediately fast, the outright lap record already being improved upon in Free Practice 2. There was little to choose between the riders as the hotly contested premier class arrived at the shortest track on the calendar.

Pol Espargaro’s day got off to an incredibly difficult start with two crashes at Turn 1 during Free Practice 1. The first fall was a relatively gentle lowside but the second crash, just a few minutes later, was a vicious highside which brought the #44’s session to an early end. After a visit to the medical centre, Espargaro was deemed fit and fortunate to escape any major injuries. A whole team effort meant that both of Espargaro’s Honda RC213V machines were ready for Free Practice 2. Pushing through some pain in his ribs and wrist from the morning, Espargaro managed a 1’20.816 for 14th overall – just two tenths from the top ten. The time was just a tenth slower than his qualifying time from 2021.

Home hero Stefan Bradl was a man in demand with the fans as the German GP weekend got underway. The HRC Test rider started steadily and improved his pace in the morning before making a big step in FP2. Finding 0.7s from FP1 to FP2, Bradl challenged the top ten until the very final moments of the session. Ultimately taking 20th place on Friday, he is confident a lap in the 1’20s was possible today as his switch from tester to racer continues.

Pol Espargaro
12th 1'20.816

“Today was a tough day. The first crash wasn’t bad but the second one really caught me by surprise and I came down quite hard. My wrist and elbow hurt a bit but the biggest pain at the moment is on my left ribs. It’s hard to take a deep breath and especially with all the left corners here, it’s quite painful. We need to rest tonight and take some anti-inflammatories. Even like this we were able to be faster than last year, but the pace is really high this weekend and we will have to work tomorrow for QP2. Today I was the limit, there’s still some margin inside of me.”

Pol Espargaro

Stefan Bradl
20th 1'21.117

“I am happy after today because we were able to make a good step. In Free Practice 1 we struggled a bit and then in the afternoon we improved. I am happy with the performance because not just the bike made a step, but I also did with my riding. There is still some parts to improve, especially about the timing of runs and my confidence when going for a fast lap. This will come with time and this is where we will find those last tenths we are missing. The goal for tomorrow is to improve again with the soft rear, I want to lap in a 1’20 – that’s the objective.”

Stefan Bradl

Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland Practice Results
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Time/Gap
1 Bagnaia Francesco 62 ITA Ducati Lenovo Team 1'20.018
2 Marini Luca 10 ITA Mooney VR46 Racing Team 0.115
3 Miller Jack 43 AUS Ducati Lenovo Team 0.193
4 Espargaro Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing 0.201
5 Zarco Johann 5 FRA Pramac Racing 0.246
6 Martin Jorge 89 SPA Pramac Racing 0.257

Source: Honda Racing Corporation

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