Stefan Bradl to replace Franco Morbidelli in German Grand Prix

Stefan Bradl to replace Franco Morbidelli in German Grand Prix

A hand injury has forced Franco Morbidelli to withdraw from Sunday’s race with German rider Stefan Bradl taking his place in Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS alongside Tom Luthi.

In dry and warm conditions Franco Morbidelli, riding with a fractured left hand suffered in last week’s Dutch TT, completed a painful 19 laps in FP1.

But the discomfort was too much on the tight and twisty Sachsenring and the Italian rider withdrew to concentrate on his recovery for the Czech GP in three weeks.

Honda test rider and local favourite Stefan Bradl was on standby as a replacement and the German was quickly on the pace posting a best lap of 1’22.457 and 21st place.

Bradl is the son of 1991 250cc class runner-up Helmut Bradl and he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS. After winning the 2011 Moto2 title, he became a Honda rider in MotoGP between 2012 and 2014. The highlight of his spell with HRC was undoubtedly a sensational pole position and second place in the 2013 US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.

The 28-year-old was also a factory rider for Aprilia in 2015 and 2016 before rejoining the Honda family in the World Superbike World Championship last year.

On combined times Tom Luthi was 23rd overall with an improved showing in FP2 having lowered his time by 0.6s from FP1.

Tomorrow’s FP3 session will be at 9:55am and then FP4 at 1:30pm followed by qualifying for grid positions at 2:10pm.

Franco Morbidelli:

“I went out in FP1 this morning to check if it was possible to race but it was really tough to ride the bikie. My left hand is really painful especially in the change of direction. I think racing on Sunday is a risk that I prefer not to take and it is better to recover to be at maximum fitness for the next race in Brno. So for now my summer holiday will be a few days longer!”

Tom Luthi: 23rd, 1’22.767

“It was difficult day with a MotoGP bike for the first time on this track so I had to be patient and look to make some steps forward in FP2. Actually I expected to make more progress in the afternoon but we will now analyse all the data and start again in the morning to have a better feeling with the bike.”

Stefan Bradl: 21st, 1’22.457

“It has been busy day. I was here to work on the TV broadcast which I did in FP1 but then I got the call from Alberto Puig from HRC to ride in place of Franco. I must say a big thanks to the team who gave me a nice welcome and have been very professional. I know the Honda RC213V so I just tried to enjoy myself in FP2 and get ready for the race. I wish Franco all the best and hope that he can make a good recovery and be back racing as soon as possible.”