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|
|1||Sandro Cortese||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||1:59.448|
|2||Maverick Vinales||FTR Honda||Blusens Avintia||+0.351|
|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|