MOTEGI, Japan – official release — Ducati photo — Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso set the standard on the first day of practice for the MotoGP Motul Grand Prix of Japan.
On an extra soft rear tire, Dovizioso set the best time of the day near the end of the second practice with a 1:45.140 lap around the Japanese circuit, which put him .440 of a second ahead Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo.
“I am very happy because, apart from my fastest lap which I set with a soft tire, I also had a good pace with the medium option,” said Dovizioso. “We immediately got off to a good start this morning with the set-up, both regarding the chassis and the electronics, and this enabled me to push hard right from the early laps. Today was a great day but tomorrow I’ll have to try and shave off some more tenths from my lap time.”
Lorenzo led the way in the opening practice and although he improved in the afternoon, he could not match the pace of Dovizioso. Third overall was Stefan Bradl with a similar time to Lorenzo’s, .497s adrift of Dovizios’s time.
Dani Pedrosa survived a big moment in the first practice when he produced a remarkable stoppie at turn 11 as he hit the brakes going into the corner. He ended the day fourth best, just in front of Valentino Rossi.
The overall Friday top 10 was completed by Marc Marquez, Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith, Andrea Iannone and Yonny Hernandez. Marquez was unhurt in a crash early in the first practice as he could not brake in time at turn five, meaning his attempt to clinch the MotoGP title this weekend got off to a tricky start.