Heavy rain delayed the start of MotoGP raceday at Motegi in Japan, with only a relaxing of the series’ medical helicopter directives allowing for action to take place this morning.
With low cloud precluding any helicopters taking off at Motegi, the medical director and chief medical officer agreed that the 50-minute road transfer would be sufficiently safe, combined with an improvement in on-site facilities. The decision was approved by the FIM.
That allowed the 20-minute MotoGP warm-up session to take place.
Ducati’s Andrea Iannone set the early pace on 1m59.281s, despite wearing a heavily-tinted visor in the gloomy conditions. His teammate Andrea Dovizioso took over P1 on 1m58.383s
Silverstone hero Danilo Petrucci briefly topped the times, swapping top spot regularly with Dovizioso early on.
Dani Pedrosa lowered the bar to 1m56.771s on his Repsol Honda, before Yamaha's points leader Valentino Rossi’s P1 time of 1m55.724s. Pedrosa then set 1m55.235s, pipping Rossi by over three tenths.
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) went second fastest on 1m55.496s in the closing moments, ahead of Rossi, Iannone, Dovizioso, Suzuki’s Aleix Espargaro and Honda’s Marc Marquez.
Scott Redding ploughed into the gravel in the only real incident of the session, despite the tricky conditions.