The fastest rider in a specially extended 40 minute MotoGP warm-up at Motegi was Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner.
The rain which caused the cancellation of qualifying at the Polini Grand Prix of Japan returned on Sunday morning at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, affecting the lap times in the specially lengthened 40 minute MotoGP warm-up, but not preventing the hardy premier class riders from taking to the track. Despite completing just five laps Casey Stoner headed his rivals by more than two seconds with a best time of 2’05.903.
Shortly before the session commenced at 9.55am the clouds opened and heavy rain began to fall again, meaning that several riders stayed in the shelter of their pitboxes until late in the practice - rather than take any risks ahead of this afternoon’s second race of the season.
Behind Ducati man Stoner there were four Honda riders in the top five. Toni Elias (San Carlo Honda Gresini) was the only rider to get into double figures on the lap counter with 12 turns of the track, and he finished second fastest ahead of home rider Yuki Takahashi (Scot Racing), Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda).
Sete Gibernau (Grupo Francisco Hernando), Marco Melandri (Hayate Racing), Mika Kallio (Pramac Racing), Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) and Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha) completed the top ten.
Taking things steadily and completing just four laps, World Champion and poleman Valentino Rossi found himself in the unusual territory of 13th place on the final timesheet.
The 24 lap MotoGP race at the 4.8km Motegi track takes place at 3pm on Sunday afternoon.