Courtesy of Repsol Honda Team
Eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez finished a consistent first day in Japan as the third fastest rider as Jorge Lorenzo made a step forward.
Cool conditions on Friday at the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit didn’t deter the local fans who filtered into the track from early in the morning. A track temperature of 21°C kept riders some distance from the outright lap record in Japan but potential rain on Saturday meant they still had to push hard for a Q2 spot in the closing moments of Free Practice 2.
Fresh from being crowned the 2019 MotoGP World Champion, Marc Marquez showed no signs of relenting his fearsome work ethic. Working towards Sunday’s 24-lap race, Marquez was fourth in Free Practice 1 and improved his time by just under a second to go third on the combined time sheets. The World Champion is not resting on his laurels and is determined to find more speed on Saturday, whatever the conditions.
Jorge Lorenzo enjoyed a positive day aboard the Repsol Honda Team RC213V in Japan, spending the majority of it running inside the top 15 and cutting the gap to the top ten to just a few tenths. Ultimately ending the day in 17th, the five-time World Champion was unable to take full advantage of fresh tyres in the afternoon’s conditions. Continuing to close the gap to the front remains Lorenzo’s objective for the weekend after Friday’s positive start.
Action is scheduled to resume at 10:50 Local Time on Saturday with Free Practice 3, the session later in the day than usual due to Japan’s unique schedule.
“It’s nice to be on the bike again after Thailand! Today was not the best day for us because we missed a few things and it wasn’t our best FP2 of the year but still we are in a good position and close. At the moment we’re focusing on the race weekend and understanding a couple of ideas we have had with the geometry. We still need to understand the tyres a bit more so hopefully the weather will be OK tomorrow.”
“Today was a positive day, maybe my best practice since I returned from injury. We changed something on the bike from earlier in the season and we had a good day. I improved my feeling and my speed; it wasn’t a full second improvement, but I felt better and could see the improvements on track. Our final position isn’t perfect because I couldn’t take the most from a new tyre like other riders but our pace is closer to the front.”