Marc Marquez needed the last lap of the day at Motegi to deny Bradley Smith and Scott Redding a British 1-2 in Friday Practice ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix. The championship leader produced the fastest ever Moto2 lap of the Twin Ring circuit to finish on top, two tenths ahead of the Tech 3 rider.

Smith had an awful start to the day with a crash at turn one early in the morning session but wasted no time getting up to speed in the afternoon, although it was Marquez who led the times initially. His spell at the top was ended by Redding after twenty minutes with the Marc VDS rider clocking a 1:52.200.

Ten minutes from the end, Smith took over from his compatriot with a 1:52.021, a moment that won’t have done him any harm in the home country of Yamaha for whom he’ll ride for next year. Smith failed to get under the 1:52 mark in the moments that remained but Marquez still had pace in his locker, first splitting the Brits with a 1:52.133 before jumping ahead of the pair of them on his last lap, clocking a 1:51.834.

Esteve Rabat, fastest of all in the morning session, kept up his impressive form with the fourth fastest time while his teammate Pol Espargaro wound up a disappointing fifth, three tenths behind his championship rival at the front. The other title contender, Andrea Iannone, also had a day to forget with a crash early in FP2 preventing him from doing better than 25th.

Behind Espargaro, Thomas Luthi finished the day in fifth ahead of Nicolas Terol and home favourite Takaaki Nakagami while Julian Simon and Mika Kallio completed the top ten. Gino Rea was the leading Gresini rider in 21st, five places ahead of teammate Ratthapark Wilairot who lost the entire morning due to a technical problem.

 

 Moto2 AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan: Combined Friday Practice Classification
Pos Rider Constructor Team Time/Gap
1  Marc Marquez Suter Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol 1:51.834
2  Bradley Smith Tech 3 Tech 3 Racing +0.187
3  Scott Redding Kalex Marc VDS Racing Team +0.326
4  Esteve Rabat Kalex Tuenti Movil HP 40 +0.335
5  Pol Espargaro Kalex Tuenti Movil HP 40 +0.352
6  Thomas Luthi Suter Interwetten-Paddock +0.371
7  Nicolas Terol Suter Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 +0.460
8  Takaaki Nakagami Kalex Italtrans Racing Team +0.510
9  Julian Simon Suter Blusens Avintia +0.600
10  Mika Kallio Kalex Marc VDS Racing Team +0.734
11  Johann Zarco Motobi JIR Moto2 +0.756
12  Simone Corsi FTR Came IodaRacing Project +0.808
13  Dominique Aegerter Suter Technomag-CIP +0.834
14  Yuki Takahashi FTR NGM Mobile Forward Racing +0.887
15  Jordi Torres Suter Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 +0.900
16  Toni Elias Kalex Italtrans Racing Team +0.978
17  Anthony West Speed Up QMMF Racing Team +0.997
18  Mike Di Meglio Kalex Kiefer Racing +1.152
19  Axel Pons Kalex Tuenti Movil HP 40 +1.315
20  Alex De Angelis FTR NGM Mobile Forward Racing +1.334
21  Gino Rea Suter Federal Oil Gresini +1.548
22  Ricard Cardus AJR Arguiñano Racing Team +1.552
23  Xavier Simeon Tech 3 Tech 3 Racing +1.741
24  Marcel Schrotter Bimota Desguaces La Torre SAG +1.822
25  Andrea Iannone Speed Up Speed Master +1.826
26  Ratthapark Wilairot Suter Thai Honda PTT Gresini +1.897
27  Tomoyoshi Koyama Suter Technomag-CIP +2.305
28  Alessandro Andreozzi Speed Up S/Master Speed Up +2.700
29  Kohta Nozane FTR SAG Team +2.739
30  Elena Rosell Speed Up QMMF Racing Team +3.417
31  Eric Granado Motobi JIR Moto2 +3.471
32  Jesco Raffin Suter GP Team Switzerland +4.275