PARIS: Suzuki’s Maverick Vinales recovered from a spectacular early fall to lead Friday (Saturday in Manila) practice for the German Grand Prix at a cold and wet Sachsenring.
Vinales was fastest by 0.2sec in front of Ducati’s Andrea Iannone and 0.6sec on Honda’s Marc Marquez, the world championship leader.
“I pushed a bit too much,” said the Spanish prodigy after a high speed 11th corner crash saw him fall off the back of his bike with sparks flying all around him.
Marquez is the man to beat at the German circuit having won every year since 2010.
“It will be an interesting Grand Prix because of the weather,” said Marquez.
“The prediction is that on Sunday we’ll have a situation like today, when rain could fall at any time.”
Yamaha pair Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, second and third in the standings behind Marquez, struggled to squeeze top speed out of their tyres in the cold, finishing 16th and 14th place on the day.
“We hope for tomorrow and Sunday to have a better temperature and a little bit more sun, that can help us a lot,” said crowd favourite Rossi.
“We don’t have the feeling or enough confidence to push to the fullest,” said Rossi of today’s soft front tyre selection.
Lorenzo was equally wary after a difficult day.
“All the Yamahas are struggling at the moment in these conditions and I’m the slowest one,” admitted the world champion.
“This morning I had a crash going downhill. It looks like these are very cold and slippery conditions and you have to be very careful with the tyres.”
Moto2’s Takaaki Nakagami carried on where he left off last time out when he grabbed a maiden win at the Dutch Grand Prix on his Kalex by setting the fastest time in practice.
Brad Binder, the Moto3 leader, was fifth Friday while second placed Spaniard Jorge Navarro was way back in 12th as Italy’s Enea Bastianini on his Honda was fastest on the day.