Nicky Hayden is happy with his best qualifying result of the year, despite badging today's Sachsenring session "a complete disaster."
The factory Ducati rider, who ultimately qualified fourth, suffered gearbox problems that forced him to change bikes in the first part of one-hour session, and had a spectacular crash in the final minutes that took Pramac Ducati's Niccolo Canepa down with him.
"In some ways the session was a complete disaster but I ended up with my best grid position of the year so I'll take it," said the former MotoGP champion. "I went out on the first bike and immediately something happened to the gearbox going into turn one and I almost went down. It was stuck in second gear so I had to ride it all the way back to the pits like that.
"I didn't feel as comfortable on my second bike but I knew that was all I had to work with for the rest of the session so I was a little tentative. Then we made a couple of changes and got going pretty good."
The American had a high-side at Turn 7 that saw him landing over the back of Canepa, who was also sent tumbling into the gravel and needed a stretcher to leave the scene.
"Things were coming together so I went out with ten minutes to go, got right on the pace and felt I could do something special," explained Hayden. "I set my best time through the first split but then in the downhill section I lost the rear and there was no way of getting it back, unfortunately it took Niccolo out too. I'm basically OK from the crash and I hope Niccolo is okay too because it was my fault.
"I was trying too hard when it was getting too slippery -- it was raining harder but I felt like I could go faster."
The Pramac Racing team confirmed that Canepa will be able to ride in tomorrow's race despite suffering contusions.
"What a hit," exclaimed the Italian rookie. "I didn't understand what happened until I saw the replay while I was in the mobile clinic. When I was on the ground after the accident I saw and heard Hayden saying to me 'sorry, sorry, sorry', but I didn't understand why.
"He doesn't have to worry because this sort of things can happen and the most important thing is that both of us are OK and ready to race tomorrow. I suffered a hard contusion on my back, head and ankle, but nothing is broken.
"I felt a lot of heat in my lower back but everything seems back to normality now. I want to thank the mobile clinic doctors who have helped me to relax and will do all possible to put me back in top form for tomorrow's race."