Dani Pedrosa benefitted from a late switch to slick tyres to clock the fastest time in second practice ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix. The Spaniard led Aprilia’s Scott Redding by half a second as the championship contenders Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso decided to sit out the session due to the changeable conditions.
Rain had started to fall shortly after the morning session and conditions still hadn’t dried up for FP2, leading to a quiet race track for much of proceedings. Johann Zarco led the way on wet tyres, lowering the benchmark to a 1:54.728, but predictably, Jack Miller was the first to gamble on slicks and leapt to the top of the leaderboard seven minutes from time.
Conditions were rapidly improving as Miller chopped nearly four seconds off his own time before the chequered flag came out, but others had followed his lead in changing to dry tyres and would shuffle him back down the order. Pramac team-mate Danilo Petrucci was the first, setting a 1:48.939, but Pedrosa would end the afternoon on top with a lap eight tenths faster than the Italian.
Redding slotted into second with a late dash on slicks with Miller ending up fourth, just ahead of Zarco who completed the session on wets. Hafizh Syahrin used dry rubber to go sixth, with Bradley Smith and Xavier Simeon adopting a similar strategy to complete the top eight. The combined classification remains unchanged though, with Dovizioso leading the race to secure a Q2 spot overnight.
2018 Motul Grand Prix of Japan (Free Practice 2)
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