Jorge Lorenzo kept up the pace at Motegi in the second Japanese GP practice session, with Yamaha teammate and title rival Valentino Rossi languishing back in eighth.
Lorenzo is 14 points behind Rossi following his recent dominant Aragon victory, with only four races remaining. But Lorenzo is suffering from a sprained shoulder, incurred after he fell of a minibike at a barbecue last weekend.
Story of the session
Ducati's Andrea Iannone set the first representative laptime of the session, a 1m46.226s, with Honda's Marc Marquez (suffering a broken finger on his left hand) the first under the 1m46s barrier, with 1m45.826s before the second Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso popped in 1m46.680s.
Lorenzo went to the top on 1m45.619s, with Marquez improving to third and Rossi moving up to fourth on 1m45.780s.
Lorenzo’s pace was relentless, improving to 1m45.535s and then 1m45.426s, with Iannone right behind on 1m45.586s. Marquez intersected them in P2 on 1m45.529s, the top three covered by 0.16s at this point, with Dovizioso a quarter of a second off after the first runs and Rossi down in fifth.
On the second runs, Dovizioso was one of the few to improve his time, first to 1m45.630s and then 1m45.624s, but stayed in fourth.
Rossi tried the soft rear for his final run, having dropped to 0.354s off Lorenzo’s pace. He fractionally improved to 1m45.771s, then 1m45.692s, but remained fifth.
Tech 3's Bradley Smith then jumped to the top of the timesheets on 1m45.358s on his Yamaha with less than five minutes remaining, then set a 1m45.250s. Lorenzo responded with his sensational 1m44.731s, which would prove to be the fastest time of the session.
Dovizioso went second on 1m45.099s and a flurry of fast times at the end of the session saw Rossi relegated to 10th. Pedrosa leapt to second on 1m44.859s, with Iannone P3 on 1m45.043s.
Dovizioso managed a 1m45.059s for fourth, with Smith in fifth ahead of the leading Suzuki of Aleix Espargaro.
Rossi rose to eighth on his final lap, just behind Marquez, but worryingly for him ended the session 0.8s off Lorenzo.
In a session with few incidents, Loris Baz crashed at Turn 11, as did Yamaha wildcard Katsuyuki Nakasuga late on.
|2||Repsol Honda Team||1:44.859||+0.128|
|5||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:45.250||+0.519|
|6||Team Suzuki ECSTAR||1:45.348||+0.617|
|7||Repsol Honda Team||1:45.492||+0.761|
|8||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||1:45.554||+0.823|
|9||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:45.597||+0.866|
|11||CWM LCR Honda||1:45.846||+1.115|
|12||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||1:46.074||+1.343|
|13||Team Suzuki ECSTAR||1:46.464||+1.733|
|14||CWM LCR Honda||1:46.477||+1.746|
|17||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:46.649||+1.918|
|18||Takumi Takahashi||Team HRC with NISSIN||1:46.650||+1.919|
|19||Aspar MotoGP Team||1:46.770||+2.039|
|20||Aspar MotoGP Team||1:46.827||+2.096|
|22||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:46.974||+2.243|
|23||Katsuyuki Nakasuga||Yamaha Factory Racing Team||1:47.096||+2.365|
|24||Athinà Forward Racing||1:47.219||+2.488|
|25||Athinà Forward Racing||1:47.689||+2.958|
|26||Octo IodaRacing Team||1:48.572||+3.841|
|27||Kousuke Akiyoshi||AB Motoracing||1:48.769||+4.038|