The track was getting ever faster after pretty heavy rain much earlier in the morning and that did not allow the intermediate class ranking to settle until well into their first practice session. Once the main contenders started to present themselves, it was down to two men to claim the top spot, Brad Binder and Tetsuta Nagashima a fairly familiar duo trading first position through the early action. The KTM rider was firmly ahead at the mid point of the session, until the Kalex man took over for the final five minutes, only to be robbed by Binder once again on the final flying lap by half a tenth.
Alex Marquez flew under the radar for most of Friday morning but the championship leader eventually joined the top three, a quarter of a second slower than the leading duo. Rookie Jorge Martin seemed to enjoy his school trip to Japan and climbed up to fourth, ahead of Remy Gardner, who rounded out the top five. Stefano Manzi was a somewhat unusual presence in sixth spot, unlike Tom Luthi in seventh, the Swiss rider closing the session with a significant moment at turn 12. Luca Marini, the now familiar Somkiat Chantra and Iker Lecuona completed the top ten, only half a second off the leader.
With the habitually small gaps throughout the field, some of the usual contenders found themselves outside of the sharp end of the action on Friday morning, including the likes of Lorenzo Baldassarri - 13th after a late tumble at turn 1 - or Jorge Navarro and Augusto Fernandez, the two 14th and 15th respectively, with pretty low key sessions. Excellent rookie Enea Bastianini was joined by Sam Lowes and Fabio Di Giannantonio towards the bottom of the top 20 but still within a second of the leader.
|6||62||Stefano MANZI||MV Agusta||1'51.515||0.460||0.034|
|11||77||Dominique AEGERTER||MV Agusta||1'51.631||0.576||0.047|
|14||9||Jorge NAVARRO||Speed Up||1'51.714||0.659||0.062|
|20||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Speed Up||1'52.010||0.955||0.152|
|30||20||Dimas EKKY PRATAMA||Kalex||1'54.762||3.707||0.301|