Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) won the 2018 German GP, and as we return to the venue for the HJC Helmets Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland this season, it’s the South African on top once again. Binder was a stunning 0.380 clear on Friday, with Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) in second and Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) in third, but with an identical laptime. That speaks volumes of the competitive field behind Binder; second to P26 covered by less than a second.
In the morning it was home hero and replacement rider Jonas Folger (Petronas Sprinta Racing) – a premier class podium finisher at the track – who went quickest, leading compatriot Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) – who made a stunnnig save at the ‘Waterfall’ and suffered a crash – before Binder turned the tables in FP2. The warmer conditions in the afternoon allowed the Moto2™ riders to hit the ground running and the majority of those in the field improved their laptimes, with Folger and Schrötter the only exceptions in the top ten.
Folger therefore ends the day in fourth overall with his FP1 time ahead of Schrötter, with Assen winner Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) slotting into sixth. Key Championship contender Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) ended the day in seventh as a crash in FP2 saw his session come to an early end – rider ok, bike briefly on fire – and it was just after that Binder struck to lead.
Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) was right behind Marquez in P8, with Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) impressing to finish Friday in ninth. Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) completed the top ten and beat Championship leader Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) to the honour, with the Swiss veteran tailed by two rookies: Fabio Di Giannantonio (MB Conveyors Speed Up) and Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo).
Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up) is currently the last man set to move straight through to Q2, with the Spaniard only 0.035 off the top 14 despite a crash. Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) is also close despite a fall for the Brit on Friday. Will the times shuffle again on Saturday morning in FP3? That’s their last chance to gain automatic graduation so miss a second, with FP3 going green at 10:55 local time (GMT+2) before qualifying from 15:05.
1 – Brad Binder (RSA – KTM) 1’23.948
2 – Xavi Vierge (SPA- Kalex) +0.380
3 – Iker Lecuona (SPA – KTM) +0.380
4 – Jonas Folger (GER – Kalex) +0.406
5 – Marcel Schrötter (GER – Kalex) +0.413