There were contrasting fortunes for Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo during opening MotoGP practice at Motegi.

Dovizioso made a perfect start to the Japanese weekend by setting the quickest time, while Lorenzo struggled with his injured wrist during a brief outing at the start of the session, left the garage and was later confirmed as withdrawing from the event.

Marc Marquez, who can clinch his fifth MotoGP title by beating Dovizioso on Sunday, was fastest for most of FP1, improving his time on several occasions.

However, despite joining his rivals in running news tyres (medium front, soft rear) at the end of the session due to the threat of rain, the Repsol Honda star was pushed down to a close fourth (+0.140s).

Dovizioso used a new medium rear tyre but used soft front to set the 1m 45.358s best of the session, which put the Italian just 0.105s ahead of LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow and another satellite star, Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech3).

Zarco was on pole as a rookie at Motegi last season, but this morning marked his first dry Yamaha laps at the circuit.

Factory Yamaha riders Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi are eager to see if their strong Buriram form could be carried over to Motegi. The FP1 signs were encouraging for Vinales, who set the fifth best time (+0.282s) while Rossi spent much of the session outside the top ten before a late jump to ninth (+0.971s).

Between the M1 riders were Andrea Iannone (Suzuki), Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Ducati) and Jack Miller (Pramac Ducati), with Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro completing the top ten behind Rossi.

Marquez's team-mate Dani Pedrosa (+1.2s) was pushed outside the top ten in the closing stages, with home star Takaaki Nakagami 13th fastest and top rookie, Franco Morbidelli's session being interrupted by a small fall at turn ten.

The first dry laps for a KTM RC16 at Motegi saw Pol Espargaro 14th quickest and just ahead of Factory Yamaha wild-card Katsuyuki Nakasuga.

The other wild-card, Suzuki test rider Sylvain Guintoli, began the weekend in 21st as he tries 2019 parts on the GSX-RR.

Click Here for the full FP1 Results…

 

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