Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso were in a philosophical mood following their run to sixth and ninth on the grid respectively for the German Grand Prix, the pair conceding the eight tenths gap to the front is 'too much' but to be expected.
Benefitting somewhat from the absence of Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa to get a boost in terms of position, both riders still found themselves almost a second off the pace around one of the smallest circuits on the MotoGP calendar, a margin that Hayden labelled as 'too much'.
“With the rain-interrupted session this morning, we didn't get a chance to try a couple little things we had planned to,” the American said. “This afternoon we made a few things better, but some other areas were a bit worse. The guys here are working really hard, and the bike is okay in some places, but in the downhill corners, it's impossible to put enough load on the front to get feedback and make the bike turn.
“We got on the second row, although the fact that a couple guys were missing makes that look better than it really is. We're 0.8 off pole, which is too much at a little track, but we'll have a good think tonight and try to do something in the morning. It'll be a long race, but we'll do our best to have a good result.”
Following the dramatic destruction of his new specification Ducati, Dovizioso was forced to revert to his former machine, a return that could only yield ninth on the grid.
“Honestly, I expected this position, as our pace is eight tenths of a second off. I lowered my times from yesterday, but the others were also able to improve. I'm a bit disappointed with my qualifying time because I made a mistake in turn eight, where I went off-line and lost a couple tenths.
“I was ready to fight for sixth place with Nicky; it's a shame because at this track, the grid position is pretty important, so it'll be essential to get a good start. The race will be long tomorrow—30 laps—and I think if we grit our teeth, it could be possible to fight for fifth or sixth place. There are five of us on a similar pace. Unfortunately, it's a long way from the top guys, but we'll do everything possible to get a good result.”
Following injury setbacks for both Yamaha and Honda, Ducati haven't been exempt from Sachsenring's fierce bite either as an accident for Andrea Iannone during FP4 left him with a dislocated shoulder. Following a trip to Clinica Mobile, the Pramac rider will decide after warm-up whether to race.
“I'm sorry for how it went because I felt good and we were doing a good job with the team. It might be the first weekend when every change we made has led to a small step forward that I could immediately notice. The bike has consistently responded pretty well, so I was happy.
“I started FP4 while I was trying a little change. I was having a good lap, even though I wasn't really pushing too hard, and although the tyre already had 14 laps on it, I was close to my best time. Then I fell, and I'm really disappointed; I thought I could do a good race tomorrow because we've focused a lot on the pace, also during the test at Misano.
“We were getting interesting results, but unfortunately I wasn't able to finish the work we'd planned. I'll try to be there tomorrow, but I don't want to compromise the work we've done and that we still have to do. I want to thank the team and all the Clinica Mobile because they're always helping me during these difficult moments.”