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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|