Sandro Cortese set the quickest time on Friday ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix as of his rivals at the front crashed during the afternoon. The German could be crowned the first ever Moto3 world champion this weekend if results go his way and started the meeting in perfect fashion, going three tenths quicker than anybody else.

After overnight rain, the morning session started in damp conditions and although it did dry out, grip levels were far from ideal, meaning Jonas Folger’s benchmark of 2:00.219 was beaten midway through the second session. Cortese was the man to beat his time and promptly went under the two minute barrier with sixteen minutes to go.

Maverick Vinales, one of two riders still able to deny Sandro the title, was just seven hundredths adrift before ending his session early. The Avintia Blusens youngster lost the front end of the FTR-Honda on the way into turn three, an identical crash to that of Niccolo Antonelli earlier on, and was unable to recover the bike in time to get back out before the finish.

Romano Fenati was third quickest but he wouldn’t put any pressure on Cortese either due to a crash at the same corner and the Italian would subsequently lose third to Zulfahmi Khairuddin. Moto2-bound Louis Rossi finished fifth ahead of championship contender Luis Salom with Jonas Folger demoted to seventh after failing to beat his morning time.

Danny Kent was ninth fastest behind Miguel Oliveira on the factory KTM while fellow Brits John McPhee and Danny Webb were 29th and 32nd respectively.


 Moto3 AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan: Combined Friday Practice Classification
Pos Rider Motorcycle Team Time/Gap
1  Sandro Cortese KTM Red Bull KTM Ajo 1:59.448
2  Maverick Vinales FTR Honda Blusens Avintia +0.351
3  Zulfahmi Khairuddin KTM AirAsia-Sic-Ajo +0.358
4  Romano Fenati FTR Honda Team Italia FMI +0.490
5  Louis Rossi FTR Honda Racing Team Germany +0.496
6  Luis Salom Kalex KTM RW Racing GP +0.572
7  Jonas Folger Kalex KTM Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 +0.771
8  Miguel Oliveira Suter Honda Estrella Galicia 0,0 +0.798
9  Danny Kent KTM Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.830
10  Alessandro Tonucci FTR Honda Team Italia FMI +0.970
11  Alex Rins Suter Honda Estrella Galicia 0,0 +1.014
12  Niklas Ajo KTM TT Motion Events Racing +1.351
13  Alberto Moncayo FTR Honda Andalucía JHK t-shirt Laglisse +1.514
14  Jakub Kornfeil FTR Honda Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta +1.613
15  Alex Marquez Suter Honda Ambrogio Next Racing +1.664
16  Jack Miller Honda Caretta Technology +1.738
17  Alan Techer TSR Honda Technomag-CIP-TSR +1.814
18  Kenta Fujii TSR Honda Technomag-CIP-TSR +1.860
19  Hyuga Watanabe (W) Honda Project U 7C Harc +1.886
20  Efren Vazquez FTR Honda JHK Laglisse +2.014
21  Brad Binder Kalex KTM RW Racing GP +2.022
22  Niccolo Antonelli FTR Honda San Carlo Gresini Moto3 +2.024
23  Adrian Martin FTR Honda JHK Laglisse +2.045
24  Isaac Vinales FTR Honda Ongetta-Centro Seta +2.107
25  Yuudai Kamei (W) Honda 18 Garage Racing Team +2.131
26  Arthur Sissis KTM Red Bull KTM Ajo +2.207
27  Toni Finsterbusch Honda Cresto Guide MZ Racing +2.213
28  Giulian Pedone Suter Honda Ambrogio Next Racing +2.458
29  John McPhee KRP Honda Caretta Technology +2.881
30  Luca Amato Kalex KTM Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 +2.955
31  Josep Rodriguez FGR Honda Moto FGR +3.790
32  Danny Webb Mahindra Mahindra Racing +4.061
33  Armando Pontone Ioda IodaRacing Project +4.388
34  Riccardo Moretti Mahindra Mahindra Racing +7.193