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MotoGP Motegi: Lorenzo fastest on day one in Japan

Reigning MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo has ended the opening day of practice at Motegi at the top of the timesheets, going under his own lap record this afternoon with a 1’45.151.

The Movistar Yamaha man started this afternoon on a medium rear tyre to judge pace before, like the rest of the pack, switching to the soft compound Michelin to set his time.

But Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso was only 0.053s behind the Spaniard and, crucially, has used the soft rear for most of the day so he is looking to make that his choice for Sunday’s race.


Maverick Vinales stole a march late on and was on for top spot with his final lap but lost two-tenths in the last sector so had to settle for third place on a 1’45.248 on the Ecstar Suzuki.

Marc Marquez suffered a small crash late in the afternoon when he lost the front at T10 but came to a stop in the middle of the track. The championship leader bounced back to end in fourth place with a 1’45.303.

It wasn’t good news for Marquez’ Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa as a cold-tyre highside saw him finish the session in the medical centre with a suspected broken collarbone.

Honda stablemate Cal Crutchlow was only three-tenths off the pace in fifth, one ahead of Aleix Espargaro on the second Suzuki while Valentino Rossi - who topped the session with only a couple of minutes left, slipped back toseventh.

Danilo Petrucci was the first of the satellite Ducatis in eighth, one ahead of the unfortunate Pedrosa,  while Pol Esargaro - also a crasher early doors - completed the top ten on a 1’46.245.

Britain’s Eugene Laverty was also taken to the medical centre after a big crash at turn six but finished the session in 13th place, behind the two Aprilias of Stefan Bradl, who slipped off at the last corner early on, and Alvaro Bautista.

Hector Barbera, who is riding the works Ducati as replacement for Andrea Iannone, finished in 14th, Yonny Hernande was 15th and Scott Redding 16th. The returning Jack Miller was 18th after a crash while Bradley Smith, who is struggling with movement on the Monster Yamaha, ended in 21st.

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