Andrea Dovizioso of Ducati was the trailblazer in FP1 at Motegi while Jorge Lorenzo of Movistar Yamaha topped the timesheets in FP2 on Friday.
In FP1 Dovizioso set the fastest lap with a 1:45.786. Marc Marquez and Lorenzo were close behind in second and third respectively. Valentino Rossi was fourth.
Speaking after, Dovizioso admitted he was delighted with how himself and the bike dealt with the challenges of the Twin Ring Motegi.
“I’m really happy about the start today because the speed is there and it’s important to start in this way on the first day,” Dovizioso beamed afterwards.
FP1 final standings
1. Dovizioso A. Ducati Team 1:45.786 (16)
2. Marquez M. Repsol Honda 0.245 (18)
3. Lorenzo J. Movistar Yamaha 0.395 (18)
4. Rossi V. Movistar Yamaha 0.436 (20)
5. Pedrosa D. Repsol Honda 0.528 (19)
6. Vinales M. Team Suzuki MotoGP 0.563 (18)
7. Espargaro A. Team Suzuki MotoGP 0.620 (15)
8. Crutchlow C. LCR Honda 0.804 (17)
9. Bautista A. Aprilia Gresini Racing 0.935 (19)
10. Barbera H. Ducati Team 1.067 (17)
In FP2 skies remained perfectly blue above the Japanese track as Lorenzo took centre stage by setting a blistering fastest lap of 1:45.151.
Dovizioso continued to look extremely comfortable and finished the session second while Maverick Vinales announced his presence this weekend by winding-up third. Marquez was fourth.
The major talking point of the session was the four riders who came off their bikes though.
First Marquez slid off at Turn 10, before teammate Dani Pedrosa suffered an unbelievable highside at Turn 11.
That incident was quickly followed by another for Eugene Laverty at Turn 6 with Jack Miller also heading off to complete the drama-fuelled session.
FP2 final standings
1. Lorenzo J. Movistar Yamaha 1:45.151 (17)
2. Dovizioso A. Ducati Team 0.053 (16)
3. Vinales M. Team Suzuki MotoGP 0.097 (20)
4. Marquez M. Repsol Honda 0.152 (20)
5. Crutchlow C. LCR Honda 0.350 (18)
6. Espargaro A. Team Suzuki MotoGP 0.362 (19)
7. Rossi V. Movistar Yamaha 0.381 (21)
8. Petrucci D. Octo Pramac Racing 1.021 (17)
9. Pedrosa D. Repsol Honda 1.076 (15)
10. Espargaro P. Monster Tech 3 1.094 (9)