Jorge Lorenzo used the Friday's second free practice at the Motegi circuit in the same the way he used the first: To determine if anyone -- particularly title rival Valentino Rossi -- had the consistent speed to stay with him in Sunday's race. So far, no one has answered.
Late in the session, Dani Pedrosa became the second rider to dip into the 1'44s with a 1'44.858 that put him only a tenth of a second slower than fellow Spaniard Lorenzo. It's a good sign for Pedrosa who has shown terrific form of late. But as close as he got to Lorenzo, he didn't run the same consistently quick laps. Andrea Iannone, on the mend from injuries, climbed into third with a 1'45.043. His Ducati teammate Andrea Dovizioso -- the pole setter last year with a 1'44.502 -- was right on his heels with a 1'45.059. He, too, was closely followed by Bradley Smith.
And where was points leader Rossi who saw his championship lead shrink to 14 points following Lorenzo's win at the prior Aragon round? He managed to climb into eighth late in the session but remained nearly a second behind his teamate and title rival. It remains to be seen if Rossi can find something extra for Saturday's practice and qualifying. But perhaps Rossi's help won't come from the team or the bike setup; Maybe it will come from the sky.
Rain is predicted for Sunday.
|Pos.||No.||Rider||Bike||Time||Diff. / Prev.|
|2||26||Dani PEDROSA||Honda||1'44.859||0.128 / 0.128|
|3||29||Andrea IANNONE||Ducati||1'45.043||0.312 / 0.184|
|4||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Ducati||1'45.059||0.328 / 0.016|
|5||38||Bradley SMITH||Yamaha||1'45.250||0.519 / 0.191|
|6||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||Suzuki||1'45.348||0.617 / 0.098|
|7||93||Marc MARQUEZ||Honda||1'45.492||0.761 / 0.144|
|8||46||Valentino ROSSI||Yamaha||1'45.554||0.823 / 0.062|
|9||44||Pol ESPARGARO||Yamaha||1'45.597||0.866 / 0.043|
|10||8||Hector BARBERA||Ducati||1'45.645||0.914 / 0.048|
|11||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||Honda||1'45.846||1.115 / 0.201|
|12||45||Scott REDDING||Honda||1'46.074||1.343 / 0.228|
|13||25||Maverick VIÑALES||Suzuki||1'46.464||1.733 / 0.390|
|14||43||Jack MILLER||Honda||1'46.477||1.746 / 0.013|
|15||68||Yonny HERNANDEZ||Ducati||1'46.563||1.832 / 0.086|
|16||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||Ducati||1'46.648||1.917 / 0.085|
|17||6||Stefan BRADL||Aprilia||1'46.649||1.918 / 0.001|
|18||72||Takumi TAKAHASHI||Honda||1'46.650||1.919 / 0.001|
|19||50||Eugene LAVERTY||Honda||1'46.770||2.039 / 0.120|
|20||69||Nicky HAYDEN||Honda||1'46.827||2.096 / 0.057|
|21||63||Mike DI MEGLIO||Ducati||1'46.934||2.203 / 0.107|
|22||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||Aprilia||1'46.974||2.243 / 0.040|
|23||21||Katsuyuki NAKASUGA||Yamaha||1'47.096||2.365 / 0.122|
|24||76||Loris BAZ||Yamaha Forward||1'47.219||2.488 / 0.123|
|25||24||Toni ELIAS||Yamaha Forward||1'47.689||2.958 / 0.470|
|26||15||Alex DE ANGELIS||ART||1'48.572||3.841 / 0.883|
|27||64||Kousuke AKIYOSHI||Honda||1'48.769||4.038 / 0.197|