Luthi fastest, Rabat withdraws from Motegi
Thomas Luthi was fastest in FP1 at Motegi with last year's Moto2 winner showing strong pace to start this weekend. The Swiss rider was 0.012s faster than Johann Zarco with the duo comfortably quicker than the rest of the field.
Zarco, who is 78 points ahead of Tito Rabat in the championship standings is now on the verge of claiming the title with Rabat confirming that his wrist injury was too severe to race this weekend. The reigning champion will sit out the remainder of this weekend's running at Motegi and has now effectively conceded his crown to Johann Zarco.
Having tried to ride the bike Tito Rabat completed eight laps in the session but was slowest of 31 riders with the discomfort clear to see. With that in mind the Marc VDS rider decided to sit out the rest of the weekend but he hopes to be closer to fitness in Philip Island to try and race in Australia.
"The team and Tito have decided together that Tito will not ride again at the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend," the team confirmed on Twitter. "The injury to Tito’s left arm will be assessed ahead of the Australian GP before a decision about racing at Phillip Island is made."
Sam Lowes was fourth fastest in the session.