x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Lorenzo on pole in Germany, Rossi fifth fastest

The MotoGP championship leader secures his fourth pole in a row, while Valentino Rossi returns after his breaking his leg.

BERLIN // Yamaha's MotoGP leader Jorge Lorenzo took pole position at the German Grand Prix on Saturday while world champion team mate Valentino Rossi qualified fifth on his return six weeks after breaking his leg. Lorenzo's pole was the Spaniard's fourth in a row and he did it with his back-up bike after the machine he started on blew an engine and caught fire, laying a trail of oil down the Sachsenring straight.

American Ben Spies and the Frenchman Randy De Puniet both skidded on the oil at speeds in excess of 250kph, their crashes at turn one forcing the session to be red flagged with 25 minutes remaining as marshals cleared up the mess. De Puniet, grimacing in obvious pain, was taken off the track on a stretcher but hitched a ride back to the LCR Honda garages on the back of a scooter. Later X-rays at the mobile clinic revealed no break.

Rossi, the MotoGP showman battling back well ahead of schedule after breaking his leg last month in his home Italian Grand Prix, avoided the mayhem and will line up on the second row to the delight of his fans. Lorenzo secured the top slot with a lap of 1min 21.817sec at the Sachsenring, with Australian Casey Stoner second in 1:21.841. Spaniard Dani Pedrosa completed the front row on a Honda. Lorenzo has won the last three races and is 52 points clear of Pedrosa. Rossi has fallen to seventh overall after missing four races.

* Reuters