Another day in Japan, another round of rain hit the track as the action unfolded. A bit less spray was getting kicked up by the lightweight machines but a touch of drizzle ensured that the track conditions were constant and more useful to the teams.
Niccolo Antonelli had a typical morning, the Italian crashing out in turn four after the first fifteen minutes of the session just as he placed himself on top of the pile. While his leathers got a bit of a rinse and the bike got a service, compatriot Manuel Pagliani picked up the pace and went on to steal top spot. The Mahindra rider was clearly happy with the grip available, posting increasingly fast laps as if he was on rails, putting half a second’s gap into his pursuers – and as soon as someone got close, the Italian would just improve further to become the only rider to drop into the 2:09s.