Jorge Lorenzo set the pace in a crash-strewn first MotoGP practice session at the Sachsenring.
The Spaniard, competing just a fortnight after breaking his collarbone at Assen, hit the front halfway through the session and was then able to continually improve his pace to ensure he was never displaced.
Both championship leader Dani Pedrosa, chasing a fourth straight MotoGP win at the German track, and Valentino Rossi, winner last time out at Assen, were able to close to within one tenth of Lorenzo in the final minutes.
As the chequered flag fell however, the reigning champion upped his pace once more, setting a 1m22.047s to go nearly two tenths clear at the front.
Behind Pedrosa and Rossi, Marc Marquez beat satellite riders Stefan Bradl and Cal Crutchlow to fourth.
The latter contributed to the list of severe crashes when he fell and bounced heavily through the gravel at Turn 1.
Andrea Dovizioso had been the first to fall when he lost his Ducati at the sixth-gear Turn 11 'waterfall'. He was able to walk away, although his bike was badly damaged.
It was even worse for Andrea Iannone, whose Pramac Ducati was totalled - with the entire rear section falling away - when he too crashed in the same section.
Nicky Hayden on the second works machine also suffered a gigantic tank slapper exiting Turn 10, although he somehow managed to hold on.
The American ended the session in eighth, just behind Aleix Espagaro, who again impressed on his Aspar Aprilia.
Alvaro Bautista crept into ninth late on, with a returning Dovizioso rounding out the top 10.
Pos Rider Bike/Team Time Gap Laps
1. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m22.047s 20
2. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m22.221s +0.174s 24
3. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m22.241s +0.194s 25
4. Marc Marquez Honda 1m22.397s +0.350s 22
5. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda 1m22.460s +0.413s 23
6. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 1m22.469s +0.422s 21
7. Aleix Espargaro Aspar Aprilia 1m22.641s +0.594s 22
8. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m22.816s +0.769s 21
9. Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda 1m22.882s +0.835s 20
10. Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1m23.068s +1.021s 18
11. Randy de Puniet Aspar Aprilia 1m23.131s +1.084s 21
12. Andrea Iannone Pramac Ducati 1m23.578s +1.531s 18
13. Hector Barbera Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m23.672s +1.625s 20
14. Yonny Hernandez PBM Aprilia 1m23.695s +1.648s 19
15. Bradley Smith Tech 3 Yamaha 1m23.726s +1.679s 24
16. Michele Pirro Pramac Ducati 1m23.868s +1.821s 21
17. Colin Edwards Forward FTR-Kawasaki 1m24.521s +2.474s 19
18. Danilo Petrucci Ioda-Suter-BMW 1m24.575s +2.528s 25
19. Hiroshi Aoyama Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m24.682s +2.635s 20
20. Claudio Corti Forward FTR-Kawasaki 1m24.728s +2.681s 19
21. Bryan Staring Gresini FTR-Honda 1m24.798s +2.751s 22
22. Michael Laverty PBM-Aprilia 1m25.129s +3.082s 23
23. Karel Abraham Cardion Aprilia 1m26.195s +4.148s 13
24. Lukas Pesek Ioda-Suter-BMW 1m27.172s +5.125s 19