Jack Miller led a Ducati 1-2 in the sole Friday practice session as the MotoGP grid took on the Motegi track for the first time since 2019.
> Miller fastest despite compromised lap
> Title-contending trio all in top 10
> Bastianini stymied by crash
> Zarco and younger Binder also down
With the Friday MotoGP programme having been condensed to make for a slightly more palatable freight turnaround from last weekend’s Aragon race, the afternoon session was extended to 75 minutes instead of the usual 45 in the absence of morning running.
And due to widespread expectations that Saturday will be rain-affected, potentially all throughout, it turned the last 30 minutes of this FP1 into effectively a mock qualifying session as riders bid to secure likely passage into Q2.
Miller came out on top in that portion with a 1m44.509s, although his laptime would’ve likely been quicker had he not come up behind Suzuki tester Takuya Tsuda on his fastest lap.
His title-contending team-mate Francesco Bagnaia was 0.028s behind in second, while under-pressure championship leader Fabio Quartararo completed the top three just a further 0.021s down, having led most of the session.
Aleix Espargaro salvaged a comfortable top-1o spot late on, running in the tow of Aprilia team-mate Maverick Vinales to set the fourth-fastest time.
VR46 Ducati rider Luca Marini was fifth, followed by Marc Marquez on the second weekend of his MotoGP comeback – the Spaniard amusingly getting his sleeve caught on a camera mounted on the seat unit of his RC213V while dismounting in the pitlane – and Marquez’s factory Honda team-mate Pol Espargaro.
Look out! 🧤 @marcmarquez93 @HRC_MotoGP #JapaneseGP 🇯🇵 pic.twitter.com/yhoQMlamdd
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) September 23, 2022
KTM’s Brad Binder, a standout at Aragon, looked in difficulty for much of the session – making his first MotoGP appearance at Motegi despite having debuted in the premier class back in 2020 – but ultimately pulled out an eighth place, followed by team-mate Miguel Oliveira, with Vinales completing the top 10.
Pramac Ducati’s Johann Zarco and Gresini Ducati’s Enea Bastianini had their top-1o bids compromised by late crashes, at Turns 7 and 5 respectively, while RNF Yamaha’s Darryn Binder also fell.
An upleasant conclusion to today's FP1 for @Bestia23 at Turn 5 ⚠️ #JapaneseGP 🇯🇵 pic.twitter.com/GMOne6kVje
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) September 23, 2022
Fresh off surgery on two fingers of his right hand after his Aragon crash with Marquez, LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami went into FP1 with doubts over whether he’d be able to do any other session past that. He completed a substantial 28 laps and was 12th fastest.
Suzuki’s Alex Rins ran new curled winglets on his seat unit and was up front for most of the session, but ultimately could only manage 13th.
And one more #MotoGPTech!
A new addition to the GSX-RR 👨🏻
Taking name suggestions…@MotoGP @Rins42 #JapaneseGP pic.twitter.com/L5cDSLWJve
— Team Suzuki Ecstar (@suzukimotogp) September 23, 2022
And it was a similar story for the non-Quartararo part of the Yamaha contingent, which in the end was led by Franco Morbidelli in a lowly 16th place.
Honda’s wildcard debutant Tetsuta Nagashima was a competitive 22nd, 1.336s off the pace.
Practice 1 Results
|Pos||Name||Team||Bike||Gap Next||Gap Leader||Best Time|
|1||Jack Miller||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||1m44.509s|
|2||Francesco Bagnaia||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||+0.028s||+0.028s||1m44.537s|
|3||Fabio Quartararo||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+0.021s||+0.049s||1m44.558s|
|4||Aleix Espargaró||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||+0.019s||+0.068s||1m44.577s|
|5||Luca Marini||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||+0.068s||+0.136s||1m44.645s|
|6||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+0.011s||+0.147s||1m44.656s|
|7||Pol Espargaró||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+0.022s||+0.169s||1m44.678s|
|8||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+0.057s||+0.226s||1m44.735s|
|9||Miguel Oliveira||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+0.008s||+0.234s||1m44.743s|
|10||Maverick Viñales||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||+0.054s||+0.288s||1m44.797s|
|11||Johann Zarco||Pramac Racing||Ducati||+0.001s||+0.289s||1m44.798s|
|12||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||+0.088s||+0.377s||1m44.886s|
|13||Alex Rins||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||+0.027s||+0.404s||1m44.913s|
|14||Enea Bastianini||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati||+0.065s||+0.469s||1m44.978s|
|15||Jorge Martin||Pramac Racing||Ducati||+0.031s||+0.5s||1m45.009s|
|16||Franco Morbidelli||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+0.056s||+0.556s||1m45.065s|
|17||Cal Crutchlow||WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team||Yamaha||+0.122s||+0.678s||1m45.187s|
|18||Darryn Binder||WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team||Yamaha||+0.179s||+0.857s||1m45.366s|
|19||Marco Bezzecchi||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||+0.06s||+0.917s||1m45.426s|
|20||Alex Marquez||LCR Honda Castrol||Honda||+0.174s||+1.091s||1m45.6s|
|21||Raul Fernandez||Tech3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+0.139s||+1.23s||1m45.739s|
|22||Tetsuta Nagashima||HRC Team||Honda||+0.106s||+1.336s||1m45.845s|
|23||Remy Gardner||Tech3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+0.146s||+1.482s||1m45.991s|
|24||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati||+0.374s||+1.856s||1m46.365s|
|25||Takuya Tsuda||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||+0.353s||+2.209s||1m46.718s|