Dovizioso sets Japan pace as Marquez crashes in wet
MOTEGI (Japan): Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso posted the quickest time over Friday's two rain-soaked free practices for the Japanese MotoGP Grand Prix as world champion Marc Marquez took a hair-raising afternoon spill.
The Italian clocked one minute, 54.877 seconds at Motegi with championship leader Marquez 0.2 seconds slower despite losing control of his Honda in the wet conditions.
It could have been worse for Marquez after his rear wheel gave way and he was flipped over his handlebars while screeching around turn four.
Luckily for the Spaniard he skidded onto the gravel on the seat of his pants with the only real damage done to his pride.
"Everything felt perfect in the morning but I lost a bit of feeling after switching tyres for that last run in FP2," said Marquez, who insisted his crash would have little effect on his confidence in the title run-in.
"Our speed was there and our lap times were good so I feel confident for the weekend," he added. "It's up to me to get the job done and not rely on good fortune."
Marquez went quickest in a morning session made treacherous by the rain, his time of 1:55.418 still the best until Dovizioso produced his fastest lap a quarter of an hour into the afternoon run.
Aleix Espargaro steered his Aprilia to the third fastest time after lunch, posting a late lap of 1:55.061, while Yamaha's seventime premier class world champion Valentino Rossi was 12th quickest as he continues his return from a double leg fracture.
Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo was fourth quickest combined, the triple world champion pipping Yamaha's Johann Zarco and Danilo Petrucci's Ducati. - AFP
Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso of Italy (L) answers a question beside Honda rider Marc Marquez of Spain (R) during a press conference at Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Motegi,Tochigi prefecture on October 12, 2017, one day before start of the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix.