Joan Mir and Marc Marquez both posted steady improvements over Friday in front of the home Japanese crowd, ending in 12th and 14th respectively.
A harsh sun beat down on the 4.8 kilometres of Mobility Resort Motegi as the Japanese Grand Prix got underway. Two sessions of practice saw the MotoGP field continually improve their times, the 2015 lap record falling during the afternoon.
Joan Mir entered the weekend looking to continue his form from India once again fight at the front of the field. Starting the morning well, the #36 assessed several items for HRC as he decided his direction for the weekend. A fall at Turn 5 during first practice saw Mir walk away unharmed, returning to the garage and heading back out on track after just a handful of minutes lost. Ultimately ending in 12th with a best time of 1’44.428 and having to do battle in Q1 on Saturday afternoon. Improving braking will be the double World Champion’s primary focus for Saturday before the action ramps up in Qualifying and the Sprint race.
On the other side of the Repsol Honda Team garage, Marc Marquez was able to show similarly consistent pace as he spent the day in and around the top ten. Confident in his outright speed at the Japanese GP, Marquez was left just outside the top ten when the day came to a close after yellow flags and a crash at Turn 1 ended his afternoon. 14th at the end of Friday with a best time of 1’44.574, Marquez ended 0.3s from a spot in Q2.
Some forecasts are calling for a 60% chance of rain on Saturday and lower temperatures than those experienced today, the change in weather another factor in deciding what will happen in Qualifying and the Sprint Race. It was in the wet that in 2022, Marc Marquez took pole for the Japanese GP and ended a 1,071-day drought of pole positions.