Andrea Dovizioso put Ducati ahead of home manufacturers Honda and Yamaha during Friday practice for the Japanese MotoGP at Motegi.

Dovizioso may have used the special extra-soft rear tyre, not available to Ducati's factory rivals, to clinch the top spot.

However he was quick to point out that he had earlier led the session while using his harder rear tyre and was holding second place to Jorge Lorenzo prior to the late rubber changes.

"I am very happy because, apart from my fastest lap which I set with a soft tyre, I also had a good pace with the medium option," said Dovizioso, who began the day with a competitive third in FP1. "Before the extra soft tyre we were second fastest - when everybody had the same tyres until the last five minutes - and I was able to make a similar lap time to the best pace.

"We immediately got off to a good start this morning with the set-up, both regarding the chassis and the electronics, and this enabled me to push hard right from the early laps. Today was a great day but tomorrow I'll have to try and shave off some more tenths from my lap time."

Dovizioso has taken two podiums and four front row starts so far this season. The Italian was again riding the newly introduced GP14.2 evolution bike, while departing team-mate Cal Crutchlow remains on the original GP14.

Crutchlow, who was 13th and tenth in the two sessions, said: "I'm not pleased with the result today but I am pleased with the speed. I thought we could have maybe been in the front five in that session but I got held up in my fast lap. I could have been a lot closer than what I was so I'm happy with this and it means we can work well for tomorrow.

"I had some problems in the session and didn't get out in the first ten minutes due to a problem with the brake. Now I'm looking to rest because I've not been feeling well at all today due to a bit of flu, so maybe tomorrow I can have a better performance."



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