Pedrosa sets the pace in Motegi free practice

Spaniard leads countryman Lorenzo on day one in Japan

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa continues to heap the pressure on current Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) following today’s free practice sessions ahead of the Air Asia Grand Prix of Japan at the Twin Ring Motegi where Pedrosa set the fastest time of the day 1m 46.088s while Lorenzo was close behind setting a 1m 46.190s lap wit Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Andrea Dovizioso finishing the session in third with a best lap of 1m 46.282s.

Today was a perfect day for practice. We were able to do the job we wanted.

Dani Pedrosa

Rookie Stefan Bradl continues to impress on the LCR Honda and ended the day in 4th with a best lap of 1m 46.428s while Valentino Rossi (Ducati Racing) looks to have some new-found confidence in the GP12 mainly due to a new chassis and the Italian finished day one in 5th place on the timing sheets with a best time of 1m 46.687s. Ben Spies set the 6th fastest time of the day with a 1m 46.912s and one place ahead of current MotoGP Champion Casey Stoner who has made a marvelous recovery following a two race lay off with an injured leg and ankle to set a best lap time of 1m 46.978s, which was good enough for 7th.

Finishing the day in 8th was the San Carlo Honda Gresini of Alvaro Bautista with a best lap of 1m 46.983s with Cal Crutchlow in 9th place (1m 46.984s) while rounding of the top ten in the timings was the Ducati Racing GP12 of Nicky Hayden who set a best time of 1m 47.592s. Regular Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga set the 11th fastest time of 1m 47.801s for the Yamaha YSP Racing Team while Hector Barber and the Pramac Ducati team in 12th (1m 48.232s). The first CRT on the timing screens was that of Aleix Espargaro and the Power Electronics Aspar team with a best lap of 1m 48.470s that was good enough for 13th while the last of the prototypes was that of Karel Abraham and the Cardion AB Motoracing squad with a best lap of 1m 48.757s. Abraham had a slight crash early on this afternoon but was unhurt.

Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Yamaha MotoGP

Frenchman Randy de Puniet also crashed today leaving the Power Electronics rider in 15th place with a best time of 1m 48.770s. Colin Edwards ended his first day in 16th on the NGM Forward Racing machine with a 1m 49.539s lap while James Ellison finished in 17th for the Paul Bird Motorsport team (1m 49.652s). Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini) set the 18th best time today with a 1m 49.770s with Roberto Rolfo in 19th setting a 1m 50.292s lap and in 20th is the Avintia Blusens machine of Yonny Hernandez 1m 50.333s. The second of the Avintia Blusens riders, Iva Silva finished the day in 21st with a lap of 1m 50.924s and in 22nd place was Danilo Petrucci 1m 51.270s for the Came IodaRacing team.

Pedrosa was very happy with his performance on day one saying, “Today was a perfect day for practice. The track conditions were very good, the warm temperatures helped, as did the new surface, so we were able to do the job we wanted. The main target today was to test the tyres and we completed some good laps on both hard and soft compounds. The asphalt is new and the grip is quite good, so the lap times are pretty fast from the beginning. We also did some work on the suspension and the mapping to will keep improving on this tomorrow.”

Lorenzo led the earlier morning session and is confident about his chances in Sunday’s race. He said, “We started in a very good way here, much better than in Aragon where we had issues with the life of the rear tire. We have a very good pace and with a little change in the electronics were able to go a bit faster. We tried with the hard tire, for me it’s not better than the soft although we can go fast on it. For tomorrow I think the soft one will be better. The Hondas are very good here but our bike is also so I think we can fight with them for the victory.”

Andrea Dovizioso, Yamaha Tech 3
Andrea Dovizioso, Yamaha Tech 3

Photo by: Yamaha MotoGP

Dovizioso was very pleased with his pace today and found a number of settings he believes will help him stay with the top two riders in the championship. He said, “It has been a really good start to the weekend because I did my time with the hard tire and that looks like being a probable choice for the race. The good thing is I am very competitive already but I know we can improve on the last part of the entry to the corner. I don't feel comfortable in that area, but even if I don't feel 100% confident with the bike and ready to push as hard as I know I can, I am very close to the fastest two.

“I believe I will be able to follow Dani and Jorge on Sunday and that is basically my aim for the weekend. It will be difficult to fight with them for the victory but I am certainly looking to be battling for the podium again on a track that I really like,” Dovizioso added.

shares
comments
Repsol Honda team at full strength in Motegi

Previous article

Repsol Honda team at full strength in Motegi

Next article

Bridgestone: Pedrosa leads tightly packed field in Motegi practice

Bridgestone: Pedrosa leads tightly packed field in Motegi practice
Load comments
How KTM has ended up with an embarrassment of MotoGP riches Prime

How KTM has ended up with an embarrassment of MotoGP riches

Forming a ladder all the way from Red Bull Rookies Cup to MotoGP, KTM has created a steady stream of top talents in grand prix racing delivering the Austrian marque with the success expected of the brand. Here's how it has gone about it.

Why MotoGP will miss its gentle giant Prime

Why MotoGP will miss its gentle giant

Danilo Petrucci’s days in MotoGP appear numbered, as KTM looks to completely reshuffle the Tech3 team for 2022. Though the Italian's 2021 season so far hasn’t been standout, the giant Italian covertly became a top runner in MotoGP across the last decade and brought with him a personality that world sport sorely needs more of

MotoGP
Jul 22, 2021
Why Mir's MotoGP title defence can't be written off yet Prime

Why Mir's MotoGP title defence can't be written off yet

Joan Mir’s defence of his MotoGP title has had an underwhelming start as Suzuki didn’t progress its championship-winning GSX-RR as much as its rivals did with their bikes over the winter. Speaking to Motorsport.com, Mir lays out why his title defence has been stalled so far and why he’s confident title number two is still within reach

MotoGP
Jul 12, 2021
How Quartararo became the MotoGP leader Yamaha needed Prime

How Quartararo became the MotoGP leader Yamaha needed

It's been six years since Jorge Lorenzo gave Yamaha its last MotoGP title in 2015. Since his departure at the end of 2016, Yamaha's form has been inconsistent but it has at last found a new talisman to return it to the top spot in the form of a precociously talented Frenchman who currently leads the standings.

MotoGP
Jul 6, 2021
Why the Vinales/Yamaha MotoGP divorce satisfies both parties Prime

Why the Vinales/Yamaha MotoGP divorce satisfies both parties

On Monday, Yamaha announced it will part ways with Maverick Vinales at the end of the 2021 season - a move requested by the rider. As the already strained relationship between both parties in MotoGP hit rock bottom in recent weeks, this divorce - as Oriol Puigdemont writes - is good for both Yamaha and Vinales for a number of reasons

MotoGP
Jun 28, 2021
The unexpected Rossi/Ducati MotoGP sequel offering redemption Prime

The unexpected Rossi/Ducati MotoGP sequel offering redemption

A decade after first linking up with Ducati in what turned out to be an ill-fated period in his MotoGP career, Valentino Rossi has joined forces with the Italian marque once more - this time as a team owner. And the VR46/Ducati tie-up beginning in 2022 has the potential to right the wrongs of Rossi and Ducati's nadir of 2011/2012.

MotoGP
Jun 24, 2021
Why Yamaha is about to risk losing Valentino Rossi Prime

Why Yamaha is about to risk losing Valentino Rossi

With Valentino Rossi’s next career move imminent in MotoGP, it is set to have wide-reaching influences on a number of riders and teams on the grid. But one of the biggest impacts will be felt at Yamaha, with its pivotal role in the saga set to see it lose its appointment with ‘The Doctor’

MotoGP
Jun 22, 2021
How Marquez beat his Honda in his heroic MotoGP comeback win Prime

How Marquez beat his Honda in his heroic MotoGP comeback win

Marc Marquez has been through hell and back in the 581 days between his win in the 2019 Valencia season finale and his heroic MotoGP comeback victory in Germany last Sunday. Despite battling physical limitations and a difficult 2021-spec Honda, the Sachsenring provided the perfect storm for the Spaniard to return to the top step

MotoGP
Jun 21, 2021