Dani Pedrosa struck the first blow in what looks set to be another Spanish head-to-head in this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix by pipping Jorge Lorenzo in Friday practice. The two championship rivals were only a tenth apart in both sessions but after losing out to Lorenzo this morning, Pedrosa took the overnight lead with two minutes of the second session remaining.

The focus of attention when practice began was the returning Casey Stoner but the world champion got off to an inauspicious start when his Repsol Honda RC213V broke down after two corners of his out lap. Stoner made a swift return to the garage though and went back out on his spare bike, taking it to the fourth fastest time of the morning.

In the afternoon, Casey could only manage seventh but his teammate demonstrated the pace of the Honda on their home circuit with a 1:46.088, a tenth quicker than Lorenzo had managed up to that point. The two swapped fastest times throughout but Dani would finish on top with Andrea Dovizioso almost matching them in third.

Stefan Bradl was the next fastest Honda in fourth ahead of the impressive Valentino Rossi who took fifth for Ducati. Ben Spies was sixth ahead of Stoner and Alvaro Bautista with Cal Crutchlow a disappointing ninth. Nicky Hayden, riding with a fractured radius in his right hand, was tenth overall with Japanese wildcard Katsuyuki Nakasuga eleventh on his Yamaha.

The CRT was led by Aleix Espargaro but his Aspar teammate Randy de Puniet suffered a scare in the afternoon with a crash necessitating a precautionary trip to the medical centre.


 AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan: Combined Friday Practice Classification
Pos Rider Bike Team FP1 FP2
1  Dani Pedrosa Honda Repsol Honda Team 1:46.699 1:46.088
2  Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Yamaha Factory Racing 1:46.558 1:46.190
3  Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:46.919 1:46.282
4  Stefan Bradl Honda LCR Honda 1:47.561 1:46.428
5  Valentino Rossi Ducati Ducati Team 1:47.786 1:46.687
6  Ben Spies Yamaha Yamaha Factory Racing 1:47.328 1:46.912
7  Casey Stoner Honda Repsol Honda Team 1:47.316 1:46.978
8  Alvaro Bautista Honda San Carlo Honda Gresini 1:47.637 1:46.983
9  Cal Crutchlow Yamaha Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:47.366 1:46.984
10  Nicky Hayden Ducati Ducati Team 1:47.551 1:47.592
11  K. Nakasuga (W) Yamaha Yamaha YSP Racing Team 1:48.390 1:47.801
12  Hector Barbera Ducati Pramac Racing Team 1:49.106 1:48.232
13  Aleix Espargaro ART Power Electronics Aspar 1:49.265 1:48.470
14  Karel Abraham Ducati Cardion AB Motoracing 1:49.160 1:48.757
15  Randy de Puniet ART Power Electronics Aspar 1:49.354 1:48.770
16  Colin Edwards Suter NGM Forward Racing 1:50.184 1:49.539
17  James Ellison ART Paul Bird Motorsports 1:51.039 1:49.652
18  Michele Pirro FTR San Carlo Honda Gresini 1:50.268 1:49.770
19  Roberto Rolfo ART Speed Master 1:51.225 1:50.292
20  Y. Hernandez BQR Avintia Blusens 1:50.771 1:50.333
21  Ivan Silva BQR Avintia Blusens 1:52.044 1:50.924
22  Danilo Petrucci Ioda-Suter Came Ioda Racing Project 1:52.188 1:51.270