Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) was quickest on Friday’s combined times in the intermediate class, moving up from P4 in the morning to take control by the end of the day. The Swiss former 125 World Champion took a lights-to-flag stunner at the venue in 2014. Local hero Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) was second fastest after topping FP1, with Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli completing the top three.
Day 1 at the Twin Ring Motegi was punctuated by crashes for all classes, and Moto2™ was no exception. After an enormous highside saw Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa break his collarbone in FP2, Moto2™’s second session of the day saw a big incident for title contender Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP40) that meant the Spaniard sat out the rest of the day – with Saturday now pivotal as he trails title rival Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) by only one point.
Zarco looked to end Day 1 in P4, before another key rival Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) just pipped the Frenchman to the post to push him down to P5. Lorenzo Baldassari (Forward Racing) was sixth fastest, with Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) suffering a fast crash in the second session but remaining seventh on the timesheets.
Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) was P8 on Day 1 as the 2014 Moto3™ World Champion returns to the venue that saw him take back-to-back wins in the lower class, with AGR Team’s Marcel Schrotter in ninth. Brno winner Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) completed the top ten.
Rins will be checked at the Medical Center following his crash, with FP3 on Saturday morning hoping to see the title contender back out on track.