In the practice session for the MotoGP race in Japan, Johann Zarco’s teammate, Jorge Martin, emerged as the fastest rider. With a lap time of 1m45.192s, Martin topped the timesheets, leaving his competitors trailing behind. This performance puts him in a promising position as he currently sits only 13 points behind his fellow Ducati rider, Francesco Bagnaia.
As Martin was pushing his limits on the track, disaster struck. He misjudged his braking for the Turn 3 left-hander and ended up in the gravel. Although it was a relatively low-speed crash, this interruption halted his run and prevented him from further improving his lap time. Nevertheless, he managed to rejoin the session in its final minutes.
Augusto Fernandez of Tech3 GasGas surprised everyone with his impressive performance, finishing just 0.138s behind Martin. This unexpected display of skill pushed Marco Bezzecchi on his VR46 Ducati to make a late improvement and secure the third position, only 0.318s off the leader. These close battles indicate an exciting and competitive race ahead.
Francesco Bagnaia, the current championship leader, ended the practice session in fourth place. His early benchmark time of 1m45.631s was not surpassed throughout the session. This setback raises questions about his performance and whether he will be able to maintain his lead in the upcoming race.
In a positive turn of events, Joan Mir showcased his potential on the Honda by securing the fifth-fastest time. His lap time was within half a second of the leader, Johann Zarco. Mir’s determination to try the 2024-spec chassis, which was previously unavailable to him, seems to have paid off. Despite suffering a crash at Turn 5, his performance indicates that he could be a strong contender in the race.
Brad Binder, the leading KTM rider, finished sixth-fastest, closely followed by Maverick Vinales on the Aprilia and Jack Miller on the second KTM. Yamaha’s lead representative, Fabio Quartararo, secured the ninth position, while Marc Marquez struggled and ended up in 13th place on the works Honda.
Wildcard rider Cal Crutchlow, returning after missing last year’s Valencia GP, had a decent showing, finishing in 18th place on his Yamaha. Meanwhile, the home hero, Takaaki Nakagami, disappointed with a low-key 19th place. Alex Rins made his comeback after a long injury layoff, but had a difficult start and finished in 21st and last place, 2.3 seconds off the leader.
The practice session in Japan set the stage for an exhilarating MotoGP race. Johann Zarco’s teammate, Jorge Martin, took the lead despite a crash, while Augusto Fernandez and Marco Bezzecchi impressed with their close battle for second place. Francesco Bagnaia, the championship leader, fell behind, allowing other riders like Joan Mir to potentially close the points gap. The race promises to be intense, with several riders showing promising performances in practice. Fans eagerly await the main event to see who will come out on top in this highly competitive MotoGP season.