2017 Motegi MotoGP FP1 Result: Marquez Marks His Territory

A cold, wet and gloomy Motegi welcomed the premier class show but at least the weather was kind enough to offer the riders more of what they’ll be served for the rest of the weekend, if the forecast is to be believed.

Under constant rain and perhaps unusually for the conditions, the Yamaha of Maverick Viñales occupied top spot in the early minutes of the session. Marc Marquez gave him about ten minutes – also giving us a fright in the process – before moving over to the top of the pile by nearly two seconds.

Title rival Andrea Dovizioso cut the massive gap to only four tenths of a second in the final twenty minutes, despite splashing and sliding through the puddles. After the Italian was back in the comfort of his garage, Scott Redding picked up the task and reduced the gap further to one and a half tenths. That did not please Marquez, who headed back out to put another second’s buffer and become the only rider to get into the 1:55s.

Aleix Espargaro showcased the agility of his Aprilia by turning it into the only bike able to get within a second of the world championship leader. The order was maintained until the flag waved, with the Spanish duo followed by Redding in the top three.

Jorge Lorenzo added further proof to his wet weather skills by getting closer and closer to the lead before Cal Crutchlow went full rodeo in turn nine in the final five minutes and Lorenzo got caught in the incident. Wild gesticulation in the gravel trap aside, the Ducati man ended the morning fourth, with the LCR rider seventh.  In the two tenths separating the duo slotted Dovizioso in fifth and Johann Zarco in sixth. The Tech 3 rider took his time to get up to speed but ended the session as top Yamaha.

Alex Rins’ new aerodynamic fairing rewarded him with an eighth place in FP1, one hundredth of a second ahead of compatriot Viñales. Despite leading very early on, the Yamaha man could not keep up with his main title rival and finished the morning a second and a half adrift. The top ten was completed by an invigorated Bradley Smith, whose new contract seems to have given him a boost and two tenths in hand over his teammate.

Kohta Nozane’s last minute appointment didn’t do him any harm either, the Japanese rider being the second best Yamaha for much of the session before dropping to fifteenth, about eight tenths faster than a cautious and still-convalescent Valentino Rossi in nineteenth. Dani Pedrosa struggled badly on the cold wet track, a combination of his least favourite conditions seeing him end the session twentieth, over three seconds slower than his teammate.


Pos. Num. Rider Bike Time Gap 1st Prev.
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 1'55.418    
2 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 1'56.293 0.875 0.875
3 45 Scott REDDING Ducati 1'56.517 1.099 0.224
4 99 Jorge LORENZO Ducati 1'56.653 1.235 0.136
5 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 1'56.664 1.246 0.011
6 5 Johann ZARCO Yamaha 1'56.865 1.447 0.201
7 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 1'56.875 1.457 0.010
8 42 Alex RINS Suzuki 1'56.906 1.488 0.031
9 25 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 1'56.917 1.499 0.011
10 38 Bradley SMITH KTM 1'57.305 1.887 0.388
11 44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM 1'57.548 2.130 0.243
12 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 1'57.633 2.215 0.085
13 29 Andrea IANNONE Suzuki 1'57.746 2.328 0.113
14 8 Hector BARBERA Ducati 1'57.748 2.330 0.002
15 31 Kohta NOZANE Yamaha 1'57.849 2.431 0.101
16 76 Loris BAZ Ducati 1'58.280 2.862 0.431
17 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati 1'58.373 2.955 0.093
18 22 Sam LOWES Aprilia 1'58.504 3.086 0.131
19 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 1'58.618 3.200 0.114
20 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda 1'58.706 3.288 0.088
21 53 Tito RABAT Honda 1'58.921 3.503 0.215
22 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati 1'59.098 3.680 0.177
23 21 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA Yamaha 1'59.188 3.770 0.090
24 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda 1'59.205 3.787 0.017


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The massive difference between one teammate & the other. Marc Marquez to Dani Pedrosa ! 1m 55.4 v 1 58.7, Aleix Espargaro v S. Lowes just under 1 56.3 compared to 1 58.5, Johann Zarco 1 56.8 V.R.46 1 58.6. Of corse the old goat with the broken leg has a good reason not to try too hard in first practice. I'm confident Vale will be fine for the race. Rins only a little quicker than A.I.29 the Maniac. That awesome mustachio makes all the difference, no doubt. Is that Suzuki's second homologated aero fairing ?

How is Jorge after Cal bumped into him?

It used to be that the Ducati came to life in the rain.  Now, I notice that the riders on the old Ducatis are struggling.  Abraham, Bautista, and Baz - not known to be afraid of the rain, are all 'out of the points' in this free practice.