Lorenzo Leads on Dramatic Day in Japan

Jorge Lorenzo set the fastest time in free practice ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix but the day’s headlines were dominated by dramatic crashes at Motegi. The reigning champion topped the timesheets ahead of Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso but a high side at turn eleven for Dani Pedrosa was the big talking point as the 2015 race-winner was ruled out of the Grand Prix.

The latest misfortune to strike Pedrosa at Motegi occurred in this afternoon’s second session with the Spaniard overshooting the tight right-hander at the end of the back straight. As the RC213V found grip, Pedrosa was high-sided away from the machine, landing heavily on his shoulder, and the impact caused a fracture to his right collarbone, ending his weekend.

Team-mate Marc Marquez also had a spill as he embarks on the weekend which could see him crowned world champion, his causing no injuries, but there was one more sting in the tail during FP2 when Eugene Laverty fell at turn six. The Irishman was taken to hospital after the high-speed tumble but fortunately, he escaped serious injury and will return to action tomorrow.

Lorenzo enjoyed a straightforward day by comparison as he outpaced FP1 leader Dovizioso and Suzuki’s Maverick Vinales while Marquez recovered from his mishap to take fourth. Cal Crutchlow edged out the second Suzuki of Aleix Espargaro for fifth with Valentino Rossi, Marquez’s only realistic title threat, down in seventh.

Danilo Petrucci, Pol Espargaro and Stefan Bradl effectively complete the top ten in Pedrosa’s absence but one rider to receive positive news on the injury front was Bradley Smith who finally made his comeback after three races out. The Briton eased his way in cautiously and was 21st at the end of day one.


2016 Motul Grand Prix of Japan (Free Practice Classification)

PosRiderConstructorTeamBest Time
199. Jorge LORENZOYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP1:45.151
24. Andrea DOVIZIOSODucatiDucati Team1:45.204
325. Maverick VINALESSuzukiTeam SUZUKI ECSTAR1:45.248
493. Marc MARQUEZHondaRepsol Honda Team1:45.303
535. Cal CRUTCHLOWHondaLCR Honda1:45.501
641. Aleix ESPARGAROSuzukiTeam SUZUKI ECSTAR1:45.513
746. Valentino ROSSIYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP1:45.532
89. Danilo PETRUCCIDucatiOcto Pramac Yakhnich1:46.172
926. Dani PEDROSAHondaRepsol Honda Team1:46.227
1044. Pol ESPARGAROYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 31:46.245
116. Stefan BRADLApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini1:46.367
1219. Alvaro BAUTISTAApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini1:46.721
1350. Eugene LAVERTYDucatiPull & Bear Aspar Ducati Team1:46.853
148. Hector BARBERADucatiDucati Team1:46.853
1568. Yonny HERNANDEZDucatiPull & Bear Aspar Ducati Team1:46.981
1645. Scott REDDINGDucatiOcto Pramac Yakhnich1:47.032
1721. Katsuyuki NAKASUGAYamahaYamalube Yamaha Factory Racing1:47.135
1873. Jack MILLERHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS1:47.244
1953. Tito RABATHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS1:47.972
2076. Loris BAZDucatiAvintia Racing1:48.669
2138. Bradley SMITHYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 31:48.897
227. Mike JONESDucatiAvintia Racing1:50.955