MotoGP: Dovizioso makes the most of the rain in Motegi

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Andrea Dovizioso has made the most of wet conditions at the first day of practice for the Japanese Grand Prix in Motegi to gain a slender advantage over championship rival Marc Marquez, taking the top spot from him by less than a tenth of a second.

Marquez was lucky to escape the day uninjured, however, after a high speed spill in the closing stages of free practice two left him sitting out the remaining minutes of the session – but retained second at the flag despite the best efforts of an impressive ride from Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaró.

Jorge Lorenzo was fourth despite a bruised left hand from an earlier crash with Cal Crutchlow ahead of the best of the Yamahas, Johann Zarco, embarrassing the factory duo of Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi in 11th and 12th as their rain woes continue with the 2017 machine.

Rain man Danilo Petrucci was sixth, leading Andrea Iannone and Dani Pedrosa, with Cal Crutchlow the last man on the provisional third row and rookie Alex Rins rounding out the top ten.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer