Thomas Luthi returned to the sharp end of the Moto2 field by leading Friday afternoon practice for the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi.

The Interwetten Suter rider, on the podium for the first two rounds of this year but absent ever since, finished the day with a 0.180sec advantage over title leader Stefan Bradl.

Bradl (Kalex) starts round 13 with a slim six-point lead over rookie Marc Marquez, but the Repsol Suter star could only manage ninth and eighth in Friday's sessions.

Yuki Takahashi upheld Japanese honour with third place for Gresini Moriwaki, while Dominique Aegerter, riding on his 21st birthday, claimed fourth for Technomag-CIP Suter.

Pol Espargaro (FTR) and Bradley Smith (Tech 3) made it five different manufacturers in the top six, with fellow rookie Esteve Rabat (FTR) seventh.

Friday practice (2):

1. Luthi (Suter) 1m 53.002s
2. Bradl (Kalex) +0.180s
3. Takahashi (Moriwaki) +0.352s
4. Aegerter (Suter) +0.463s
5. P. Espargaro (FTR) +0.474s
6. Smith (Tech 3) +0.531s
7. Rabat (FTR) +0.581s
8. Marquez (Suter) +0.598s
9. Kallio (Suter) +0.602s
10. A. Espargaro (Pons Kalex) +0.811s

15. Redding (Suter) +1.060s