Ayumu Sasaki played it cool and took pole position at the Sachsenring by less than a tenth of a second ahead of Aleix Viu and Raúl Fernández. The 15-year-old Japanese put in his usual calculated ride on the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup KTM while the Spanish did everything they could to depose him but ran into too much traffic in the closing minutes.
"It's such a tight track that the perfect lap is very difficult," explained 15-year-old Fernández who trails Cup leader Sasaki by just 9 points. "It just needs someone else to get in the way a little and you have lost it. That's OK, the front row is good I must be happy with that though I prefer to be on pole," he added with his huge grin.
"In Free Practice 1 and 2 I really didn't like my bike but we found the right settings for qualifying and now it's great," enthused Fernández. "It is so important this race weekend, the championship is so close."
Sasaki got the sections sorted
Sasaki had also had to work on bike settings. "It wasn't right at first, I was struggling in the first and second sectors. When we got the bike working well I was much happier and faster there and now I am very happy with the bike," asserted the Cup leader.
"It was cold today and that made me a bit cautious on the corner exits. If it is warmer tomorrow lap times could get quicker but really I expect the pace to be very similar to qualifying," he concluded thoughtfully.
Viu fast all the way
Viu headed both Free Practice sessions and the 15-year-old was a touch frustrated not to put his KTM on pole. "Yes, it's a shame. I had a great feeling with the bike right from the start here and was confident I could do well," he explained. "In the last laps I was pushing again but there was a lot of traffic. The final lap I had a red sector but then someone got in my way and that was the end of it."
"The important thing is that I've got a good rhythm going and I am happy with the bike so I'm looking forward to the race, I'm so glad it was dry today and hopefully it will be for the races as well," added Viu who scored a 1st and a 2nd in Jerez but hated the wet races in Assen.
Toba to be faster
Kaito Toba heads up the third row of the grid after being second fastest in FP2. Yes the bike wasn't quite right early-on but we changed front and rear suspension and I am quite happy with it now. This track is interesting and my favourite section is the fast left hander at the bottom of the hill, the second to last corner."
"I think I can have a good race, I can lap a bit quicker than I did today so we'll see," concluded the 16-year-old Japanese.
Race 1 is at 16.30 CET on Saturday with Race 2 on Sunday at 15.30. The races can be seen live on TV channels around the globe and on www.redbull.tv with the show starting 10 minutes before the race.
Qualification classification download
Starting grid download