2014 Japanese Moto2 Grand Prix winner Thomas Luthi has topped the opening day of action at Motegi, finishing well clear of home favourite Takaaki Nakagami with Franco Morbidelli in third.
Indeed, none of the title contenders featured at the sharp end on the opening day, with Sam Lowes the fastest of them in fourth, rallying back after a slow start to the weekend to finish well.
“It was a very good day! Luthi was fastest today, but we are not worried: he’s always been very strong on this track and we have room to improve. We tried a lot of things on the bike today and at some point, when we put the harder tyre, we also went a little bit in the wrong direction.
“Later, however, with the other tyre, we have taken a big step forward, finding a very consistent pace. I feel good, we still have room to improve and tomorrow in qualifying we can definitely fight for the pole position!”
Title leader Johann Zarco was right behind him in fifth, but Alex Rins, only a point behind Zarco, had a bad end to the day when a crash left him battered and bruised. However, the crash came at the end of a difficult day for the Spaniard, who finished 29th overall.
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