The first MotoGP practice sessions for the Grand Prix of Japan got underway today at Motegi. The Repsol Honda Team riders took the top three places at the end of the free practice sessions. Dani Pedrosa was the fastest, with a time of 1 minute, 46 seconds and 790 thousandths. Together with the Spaniard, Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso were the only riders able to set a time below the 1 minute and 47 seconds mark.

Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo made a solid start to the first session, wrapping it up in fifth place just over six tenths from first. The Mallorcan rider came away from the session hunting for further stability from his YZR-M1 under braking and was also looking for more edge grip. The second session saw improvements in set up bring his time down by seven tenths of a second, reducing the gap slightly to first to just over five tenths of a second.

The Ducati Team started its setup work on the GP11.1 at the Motegi circuit, lapping at a decent pace from the first free-practice session. After posting the morning’s third-best time, Nicky Hayden finished the day sixth, less than six tenths from the leader, Dani Pedrosa. Valentino Rossi, who is still working on settings with the new chassis part introduced at Aragon, steadily improved his bike’s setup and his times, finishing eight. Both riders are fairly satisfied with the first day, though they’re aware that they must continue to improve tomorrow in order to further reduce the gap to the front.

Here is a look at the timings:

1. Casey STONER 1’47.289

2. Andrea DOVIZIOSO 1’47.566

3. Nicky HAYDEN 1’47.732

4. Dani PEDROSA 1’47.836

5. Jorge LORENZO 1’47.912

6. Marco SIMONCELLI 1’47.942

7. Colin EDWARDS 1’48.169

8. Ben SPIES 1’48.197

9. Hector BARBERA 1’48.406

10. Valentino ROSSI 1’48.667

11. Hiroshi AOYAMA 1’48.776

12. Alvaro BAUTISTA 1’48.880

13. Randy DE PUNIET 1’48.892

14. Cal CRUTCHLOW 1’49.385

15. Toni ELIAS 1’49.415

16. Karel ABRAHAM 1’49.813

17. Kousuke AKIYOSHI 1’50.688

18. Shinichi ITO 1’51.461

19. Damian CUDLIN 1’53.218