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Shoulder charge: Lorenzo, Iannone lead FP1 at Japanese MotoGP

Despite their recent shoulder injuries, Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Iannone were fastest during Free Practice 1 for the Japanese MotoGP at Motegi.
Jorge Lorenzo put doubts about his injured shoulder firmly to one side by dominating opening practice for the Japanese MotoGP at Motegi.

All eyes on were on the 2015 title contender after he sprained his left shoulder in a minibike accident last weekend.

But the Spaniard, who has cut Valentino Rossi's title advantage to 14 points with four rounds to go, showed no signs of weakness as he moved to the top after 9 of the 45 minutes.

Lorenzo was never headed thereafter, improving his best lap on three further occasions to finish the session 0.395s ahead of Andrea Iannone. It was another brave performance from the Ducati rider, who rates his fitness at just 70% after recently suffering his second shoulder dislocation of the season.

While Lorenzo likewise showed no signs of speed problems from his injury, the padding in his leathers reportedly caused a little discomfort, explaining some adjustment in the pits.

Rossi had set the pace prior to Lorenzo and finished the session in third (+0.412s), with Tech 3's satellite star Bradley Smith making it three Yamaha riders in the top four.

Inspired by his Aragon heroics, Dani Pedrosa led the Honda challenge in fifth (0.464s) followed by Iannone's team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.

Reigning world champion Marc Marquez was riding for the first time since surgery on a fracture to his left hand, sustained in a mountain bike accident after Aragon. Using a modified handlebar grip, Marquez was seventh this morning, 0.533s from Lorenzo but only 0.138s from Iannone.

Stefan Bradl put his Aprilia into an impressive ninth before falling from the RSV4. The German held tenth by the end of the session.

While there are no full-time Japanese riders in MotoGP, three are competing in their home round.

Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Takumi Takahashi are making wild-card appearances for Honda and Yamaha respectively, with Kousuke Akiyoshi in place of the injured Karel Abraham at AB Motoracing.

Takahashi was quickest of the trio this morning, claiming 15th place (+1.647s) with Nakasuga 18th (+1.752s) and Akiyoshi 27th (+4.414s). Takahashi, who has former MotoGP racer Hiroshi Aoyama as his team manager this weekend, outpaced factory class RCV regular Scott Redding.

Former world champion Nicky Hayden - who announced on Thursday that he will move to WSBK next season - was just 0.010s slower than the Englishman to be the top Open Honda rider.

1. Jorge Lorenzo
2. Andrea Iannone
3. Valentino Rossi
4. Bradley Smith
5. Dani Pedrosa
6. Andrea Dovizioso
7. Marc Marquez
8. Aleix Espargaro
9. Pol Espargaro
10. Stefan Bradl
11. Cal Crutchlow
12. Hector Barbera
13. Maverick ViƱales
14. Yonny Hernandez
15. Takumi Takahashi
16. Scott Redding
17. Nicky Hayden
18. Katsuyuki Nakasuga
19. Alvaro Bautista
20. Danilo Petrucci
21. Mike Di Meglio
22. Jack Miller
23. Toni Elias
24. Loris Baz
25. Eugene Laverty
26. Alex De Angelis
27. Kousuke Akiyoshi

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Lorenzo, Spanish MotoGP 2015
Crutchlow, Australian MotoGP 2016
Reddng, Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden after crash, Australian MotoGP 2016
jones, Australian MotoGP 2016
Redding, Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden, Australian MotoGP 2016
Barbera, Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden, Australian MotoGP 2016
Redding, Australian MotoGP 2016
Redding, Australian MotoGP 2016
Pol Espargaro, Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP 2016
Bradl Hayden, Australian MotoGP 2016
Lorenzo, Australian MotoGP 2016
Redding, Australian MotoGP 2016
Dovizioso, Australian MotoGP 2016

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October 09, 2015 4:45 AM

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