News 13 Oct 2017

Dovizioso tops rain-soaked Japanese MotoGP practice

Luthi leads Moto2 and Bulega Moto3, as Toparis makes debut.

Source: Supplied.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) ended day one at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan as the fastest man on track, but the Italian was only 0.043s ahead of championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team).

Marquez was fastest in the morning by some margin before ‘DesmoDovi’ hit back and ended his afternoon session prematurely with a crash at turn four.

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was top Independent Team rider today and impressed in both sessions – second in FP1 and third in FP2 to go third overall.

He was just ahead of Ducati Team’s Jorge Lorenzo, who was fourth in both the morning and afternoon, despite an incident in which the Majorcan was collected up in a crash for Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda).

Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was the top Yamaha and completed the top five, 0.073s clear of fellow Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing), who was another 0.073s ahead of compatriot Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar).

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) managed to find something in the afternoon session to move up to P8, having struggled in FP1 with the combination of wet weather and relatively low temperature. He headed Crutchlow, with rookie Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completing the top 10.

As Pedrosa moved up the combined time-sheets, it was a tougher first day for Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) as he moved down from FP1 to FP2, ending Friday in 11th and just over a tenth faster than his teammate Valentino Rossi.

A further 0.018s back was one of the most impressive performances of the first day as Kohta Nozane (Monster Yamaha Tech3 took 13th, ahead of Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing) and Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team).

The weather sadly looks unlikely to change too much for Saturday, but we shall see how the skies look for FP3 as graduation to Q2 is decided.

It was Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) who mastered conditions best to top the combined Moto2 time-sheets with his best in FP2 despite a low-side, ahead of Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) – fastest in the morning – and Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo). Aussie Remy Gardner (Tech3 Racing) was P20 overall.

In Moto3, Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) began the first day of the Japanese fastest in FP1 ahead of teammate Andrea Migno and that’s how the top of the time-sheets remained at the end of the day.

Compatriot Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) locked out the top three overall with his lap-time from FP1 and was the quickest in FP2 in the tough conditions, while Australian debutant Tom Toparis (Cube Racing) was 31st in his first ride at Motegi and aboard the KTM he’s racing this weekend.