Marc Marquez went fastest at a drying Sachsenring circuit in third MotoGP practice that was again marred by a heavy crash, this time for championship leader Dani Pedrosa.
The Spaniard had looked certain to extend his advantage over main rival Jorge Lorenzo, with the latter skipping this weekend due to injury following a massive highside on Friday. Pedrosa, however, suffered his own huge accident at Turn 1, despite apparently cruising on one of his first forays back out on track following a brief rain spell just as the session started.
The Honda rider was flicked high into the air and landed on his left arm and shoulder – an area he has had multiple operations on in recent seasons. His helmet also dragged across the floor, tearing off his visor. He spent the remainder of the session in the medical center, undergoing examinations for a suspected left shoulder injury. Initial x-rays suggested he had not suffered any broken bones.
Should Pedrosa be fit enough to compete he will be guaranteed a top-12 start as his practice pace was enough to earn him fifth overall.
His teammate Marquez will head into qualifying with the fastest overall time, having improved to a 1m21.903s as the checkered flag fell. That was enough to deny Aleix Espargaro a surprise top spot, with the Aspar Aprilia rider progressing through to Q2 third overall, ahead of Yamaha's Valentino Rossi.
Alvaro Bautista, Bradley Smith and Andrea Dovizioso were the final riders to progress straight into Q2. The latter could only manage the 13th-fastest combined time in practice, after a miserable opening in which he totalled the new GP13 after just five laps on Friday morning. He progresses automatically however as Lorenzo has officially withdrawn from the weekend.
Alongside Pedrosa, Bryan Staring, Michael Laverty and Hector Barbera all suffered nasty falls during the third session. The latter is undergoing examinations for a suspected broken foot after a high-speed crash at the downhill Turn 11.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap Laps
1. Marc Marquez Honda 1m21.903s 17
2. Aleix Espargaro Aspar Aprilia 1m22.129s +0.226s 18
3. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m22.306s +0.403s 23
4. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 1m22.377s +0.474s 20
5. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda 1m22.389s +0.486s 20
6. Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda 1m22.614s +0.711s 21
7. Bradley Smith Tech 3 Yamaha 1m22.758s +0.855s 20
8. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m22.874s +0.971s 20
9. Andrea Iannone Pramac Ducati 1m23.031s +1.128s 20
10. Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1m23.063s +1.160s 19
11. Randy de Puniet Aspar Aprilia 1m23.174s +1.271s 20
12. Claudio Corti Forward FTR-Kawasaki 1m23.426s +1.523s 19
13. Hector Barbera Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m23.556s +1.653s 14
14. Michele Pirro Pramac Ducati 1m23.557s +1.654s 17
15. Yonny Hernandez PBM Aprilia 1m23.745s +1.842s 17
16. Danilo Petrucci Ioda-Suter-BMW 1m23.842s +1.939s 22
17. Colin Edwards Forward FTR-Kawasaki 1m23.978s +2.075s 18
18. Hiroshi Aoyama Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m24.310s +2.407s 20
19. Karel Abraham Cardion Aprilia 1m24.555s +2.652s 19
20. Michael Laverty PBM-Aprilia 1m24.606s +2.703s 18
21. Bryan Staring Gresini FTR-Honda 1m25.873s +3.970s 14
22. Lukas Pesek Ioda-Suter-BMW 1m27.617s +5.714s 9
23. Dani Pedrosa Honda - 3