Dovizioso leads a dry opening practice for the Japanese MotoGP at Motegi, ahead of Crutchlow and Zarco.

Jorge Lorenzo made a brief return to action - after withdrawing from Thailand due to a fracture in his left wrist, which followed foot injuries at Aragon - but struggled with the arm injury and will miss the remainder of the weekend.

Fourth-fastest Marquez currently has a 77-point lead over Dovizioso and 99-point lead over Rossi. If the Honda rider has a championship lead of at least 75-points after Sunday's race, he will claim his fifth MotoGP title with three rounds still to go.

Sylvain Guintoli and Katsuyuki Nakasuga are making their latest wild-card appearances for Suzuki and Yamaha respectively.

Tito Rabat is still recovering from leg fractures at Silverstone and again replaced by WorldSBK rider Jordi Torres. Torres has the GP16 machines of Simeon, who is on Rabat's GP17s.

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  1. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (GP18) 1m 45.358s [Lap 16/18] 308km/h (Top Speed)
  2. Cal Crutchlow GBR LCR Honda (RC213V) 1m 45.463s +0.105s [18/18] 309k
  3. Johann Zarco FRA Monster Yamaha Tech3 (YZR-M1) 1m 45.483s +0.125s [19/19] 304k
  4. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda (RC213V) 1m 45.498s +0.140s [19/20] 308k
  5. Maverick Viñales ESP Movistar Yamaha (YZR-M1) 1m 45.640s +0.282s [19/19] 308k
  6. Andrea Iannone ITA Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 1m 46.030s +0.672s [18/18] 303k
  7. Alvaro Bautista ESP Angel Nieto Team (GP17) 1m 46.210s +0.852s [15/17] 308k
  8. Jack Miller AUS Pramac Ducati (GP17) 1m 46.265s +0.907s [18/18] 305k
  9. Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha (YZR-M1) 1m 46.329s +0.971s [19/19] 305k
  10. Aleix Espargaro ESP Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 1m 46.526s +1.168s [17/17] 303k
  11. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda (RC213V) 1m 46.568s +1.210s [19/19] 305k
  12. Scott Redding GBR Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 1m 46.854s +1.496s [16/16] 304k
  13. Takaaki Nakagami JPN LCR Honda (RC213V)* 1m 46.856s +1.498s [17/19] 303k
  14. Pol Espargaro ESP Red Bull KTM Factory (RC16) 1m 46.859s +1.501s [17/17] 306k
  15. Katsuyuki Nakasuga JPN Yamaha Factory (YZR-M1) 1m 46.872s +1.514s [14/18] 307k
  16. Xavier Simeon ESP Reale Avintia (GP17)* 1m 46.998s +1.640s [16/16] 300k
  17. Danilo Petrucci ITA Pramac Ducati (GP18) 1m 47.054s +1.696s [16/17] 309k
  18. Bradley Smith GBR Red Bull KTM Factory (RC16) 1m 47.137s +1.779s [18/18] 301k
  19. Alex Rins ESP Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 1m 47.187s +1.829s [12/19] 305k
  20. Franco Morbidelli ITA EG 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V)* 1m 47.428s +2.070s [15/15] 300k
  21. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 1m 47.537s +2.179s [15/17] 307k
  22. Jordi Torres SPA Reale Avintia (GP16) 1m 47.665s +2.307s [20/20] 304k
  23. Karel Abraham CZE Angel Nieto Team (GP16) 1m 47.716s +2.358s [18/18] 304k
  24. Hafizh Syahrin MAL Monster Yamaha Tech3 (YZR-M1)* 1m 47.726s +2.368s [6/14] 303k
  25. Thomas Luthi SWI EG 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V)* 1m 47.833s +2.475s [10/21] 303k
  26. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Ducati Team (GP18) No Time

Official Motegi MotoGP records:
Best lap:
Jorge Lorenzo SPA Yamaha 1m 43.790s (2015)
Fastest race lap:
Jorge Lorenzo SPA Yamaha 1m 45.350s (2015)

By Peter McLaren