Championship leader Marc Marquez made a statement in the opening practice session of the Japanese MotoGP after topping the FP1 timesheets.
Repsol Honda’s Marquez was almost nine tenths of a second faster than Aleix Espargaro in a session hugely affected by the rain after posting a time of 1m 55.418s.
Espargaro couldn’t get anywhere close to that time, although he was still fast enough to take second spot from Octo Pramac Racing’s Scott Redding.
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The weather caused its share of problems for the drivers, with the most high-profile incident coming on turn nine when Cal Crutchlow crashed into Jorge Lorenzo.
Five-time world champion Lorenzo walked away from the incident unscathed and finished FP1 in fourth spot – just ahead of team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.
Crutchlow finished in seventh spot, with Johann Zarco, Alex Rins, Bradley Smith and Marquez’s closest title challenger Maverick Vinales completing the top 10.
However, it was a tough first practice session for both Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa after each finished outside the top 15.
Japanese MotoGP FP1 times:
1. Marc Marquez Repsol Honda 1:55.418
2. Aleix Espargaro Aprilia Racing 1:56.293
3. Scott Redding Octo Pramac Racing 1:56.517
4. Jorge Lorenzo Ducati Team 1:56.653
5. Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team 1:56.664
6. Johann Zarco Monster Yamaha 1:56.865
7. Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 1:56.875
8. Alex Rins Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1:56.906
9. Maverick Vinales Movistar Yamaha 1:56.917
10. Bradley Smith Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1:57.305
11. Pol Espargaro Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1:57.548
12. Danilo Petrucci Octo Pramac Racing 1:57.633
13. Andrea Iannone Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1:57.746
14. Hector Barbera Reale Esponsorama Racing 1:57.748
15. Kohta Nozane Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:57.849
16. Loris Baz Reale Esponsorama Racing 1:58.280
17. Alvaro Bautista Pull&Bear Aspar Team 1:58.373
18. Sam Lowes Aprilia Racing Team 1:58.504
19. Valentino Rossi Movistar Yamaha 1:58.618
20. Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1:58.706
21. Tito Rabat Team EG 0 1:58.921
22. Karel Abraham Pull&Bear Aspar Team 1:59.098
23. Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha Factory Racing 1:59.188
24. Hiroshi Aoyama Team EG 0 1:59.205