Team Suzuki's Kenny Roberts Jr will start tomorrow's German GP from the front row of the grid for the second race in succession after placing third in baking sunshine in today's final qualifying session at the Sachsenring.

Roberts, who was on pole position for the previous round in Rio, set a lap time barely two-tenths slower than pole position to secure third position on Sunday's grid. The position is especially important at this short and twisty track where overtaking is very difficult.

Kenny cut his fifth-placed time from yesterday by more than seven-tenths of a second, even though he ran off the track on his fastest lap and lost several tenths after 'giving up' on it.

"On my qualifying lap, I had a good lap going and then coming down the hill, I ran off the track in fifth gear," he revealed. "I just saw my data and it was 225 kph - off the kerb and onto the grass for about 20 metres. It was sideways and when I came back it was trying to get out from underneath me. So I kind of gave up on the lap ... just finished off the last two corners. And it was a 22.9 - so the section times are going to be quick."

Meanwhile, team-mate John Hopkins dropped to the fourth row of the grid after an unlucky encounter with a bee 30 minutes before the session began. The Anglo-American was stung on the hand and an allergic reaction caused severe swelling, making it difficult to hold on to the handlebars. Hopkins still managed to cut his Friday time but dropped from seventh to 12th.

Team physiotherapist Dean Miller explained Hopkins' problem: "He was stung on the middle finger of his left hand and had a local anaphylitic reaction, which caused a lot of swelling. In the session, we concentrated on trying to keep it under control so he could ride the bike and straight afterwards we took John to the medical centre so he could be treated. He should be fine for tomorrow."

"About a half-hour before the session I came through the tunnel on my scooter into the paddock and I felt something on my hair, so I took off my hat and as I grabbed it, a honey-bee stung me on the finger," added Hopkins himself. "I've only been stung a couple of times before and I have an allergy so my finger swelled up.

"I tried to ride, but spent most of the session trying to get comfortable, with Dean strapping my hand and trying to reduce the swelling. I really wanted to better my time, but on one lap, my hand almost fell off the bar then I had another lap going well and I got held up behind Bayliss, which cost a couple of tenths," he continued.

"I tried again but it just wasn't happening. Today, looking at Kenny's time, I think the front row was possible, but the dice didn't roll for me," he shrugged. "It was bad luck but we have good bike settings and we've found a race tyre. Tomorrow I'll be ready to race and to try to make up the places I lost on the grid."

 

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