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Jorge Lorenzo carried the momentum from his Aragon victory straight to Motegi by leading Free Practice 1 for the Japanese MotoGP.
In stark contrast to last year's fog-cancelled Friday, conditions were dry and sunny for the opening session of the 2014 weekend.
Lorenzo took over from champion elect Marc Marquez in the final minute of the session, the Movistar Yamaha rider - who claimed a memorable victory at Motegi last year - finishing with a 0.166s advantage over Marquez.
Having become the last of the big four to win a 2014 MotoGP race, Lorenzo now has his sights set on battling Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi for second in the world championship.
Marquez meanwhile has the first of four chances to wrap-up the 2014 MotoGP title this weekend, but ran into the gravel after apparent braking problems into Turn 5 early in the Friday morning session.
The Spaniard was forced to drop his RC213V before reaching a barrier and, although unharmed, the incident meant a lift back to the pits and switch to his spare bike. Marquez returned with 30 of the 45 minutes remaining and moved to the top with 13 minutes remaining.
Marquez is 75 points ahead of team-mate Pedrosa and will be crowned if he finishes Sunday's race with at least that same advantage over his nearest rival.
Pedrosa and Lorenzo's team-mate Valentino Rossi both briefly led the session, but were eventually bumped down to fifth (Rossi) and eighth (Pedrosa). Rossi was riding for the first time since requiring hospital checks due being briefly knocked out at Aragon, where both Marquez and Pedrosa fell while trying to brave out the rain on slick tyres.
Andrea Dovizioso made a late surge to continue Ducati's form with third place on the soft rear tyre - the hardest rear tyre available to the Ducati and Open class riders this weekend. Dovizioso edged out Pramac Ducati rider Yonny Hernandez, running the extra-soft rear.
Dovizioso and Pramac's Andrea Iannone (eleventh) again have a GP14.2 Ducati available, while Aragon podium finisher Cal Crutchlow (13th) remains on the GP14 and Hernandez last year's GP13.
LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl began his final Japanese race on an RCV by topping the timesheets on his way to sixth place (+0.392s), followed by Tech 3 Yamaha rookie Pol Espargaro.
Behind Pedrosa, Aragon runner-up Aleix Espargaro (Forward Yamaha) and Alvaro Bautista (Gresini Honda) completed the top ten.
Wild-card Katsuyuki Nakasuga, a Yamaha test rider, began his home weekend in twelfth.
Free Practice 1:
1. Jorge Lorenzo
2. Marc Marquez
3. Andrea Dovizioso
4. Yonny Hernandez
5. Valentino Rossi
6. Stefan Bradl
7. Pol Espargaro
8. Dani Pedrosa
9. Aleix Espargaro
10. Alvaro Bautista
11. Andrea Iannone
12. Katsuyuki Nakasuga
13. Cal Crutchlow
14. Bradley Smith
15. Alex De Angelis
16. Hector Barbera
17. Hiroshi Aoyama
18. Nicky Hayden
19. Karel Abraham
20. Scott Redding
21. Danilo Petrucci
22. Broc Parkes
23. Michael Laverty
24. Mike Di Meglio