Just two weeks after surgery for a fractured ankle in Malaysia, Stefan Bradl topped the extended morning practice session at a dry and bright Motegi, in Japan.

The 45-minute session replaced the usual 20-minute warm-up and was provided to compensate for the loss of all three free practice sessions due to visibility issues grounding the medical helicopters.

LCR rider Bradl led an all-Honda top three ahead of factory Repsol riders Dani Pedrosa (+0.019) and Marc Marquez (+0.123s).

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Rookie title leader Marquez returned from a heavy mid-session fall - that sent him cartwheeling through the gravel, ripping off his visor and leaving the 20-year-old limping slowly away whilst checking his arm and shoulder movement - to edge out title rival Jorge Lorenzo on his very final lap.

After the session Marquez headed for the medical centre to undergo treatment for 'mild neck and back pain'. Marquez will be champion if he can extend his points lead from 18 to 26 over Lorenzo this afternoon.

Lorenzo was fastest for much of the session and ended up as was the only Yamaha rider in a top five covered by just 0.195s. However the only dry session of the weekend meant riders were constantly trying different tyre combinations, shaking up the lap times.

Fifth place Alvaro Bautista was another session leader, but fell from his Honda Gresini at the hairpin in the closing stages.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Cal Crutchlow, a 'disastrous' eleventh in the wet qualifying, was sixth and just 0.3s from the top, followed by the top Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso (+0473s) and then Lorenzo's factory Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi (+0.662).

Nicky Hayden, who will join Lorenzo and Marquez on this afternoon's front row, was just ninth in the dry, with Crutchlow's team-mate Bradley Smith completing the top ten.

Sunday free Practice:
1. Stefan Bradl
2. Dani Pedrosa
3. Marc Marquez
4. Jorge Lorenzo
5. Alvaro Bautista
6. Cal Crutchlow
7. Andrea Dovizioso
8. Valentino Rossi
9. Nicky Hayden
10. Bradley Smith
11. Aleix Espargaro
12. Katsuyuki Nakasuga
13. Colin Edwards
14. Hector Barbera
15. Andrea Iannone
16. Hiroshi Aoyama
17. Yonny Hernandez
18. Randy De Puniet
19. Danilo Petrucci
20. Claudio Corti
21. Michael Laverty
22. Luca Scassa
23. Damian Cudlin
24. Bryan Staring
25. Lukas Pesek