Lorenzo beats Marquez in Japanese MotoGP practice

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Jorge Lorenzo denied Marc Marquez the top spot in opening practice for MotoGP's Japanese Grand Prix at a sunny Motegi. Marquez, who can wrap up the 2014 championship this weekend, had recovered from an early crash to go fastest on a 1m46.004s going into the closing minutes. But Yamaha rider Lorenzo – fresh from his long-awaited first win of the year at Aragon two weeks ago – produced a 1m45.838s in the last half-minute of the morning to beat his Honda rival by 0.166 seconds. Marquez's accident happened at the tight Turn 5 right-hander. He appeared to outbrake himself and ran straight on into the gravel before falling. Andrea Dovizioso put the revised Ducati third, grabbing the position from Pramac Ducati man Yonny Hernandez late on. Hernandez's lofty position owed something to using the extra-soft tyre and to tucking in behind Marquez for his quick lap. Valentino Rossi took fifth. The Italian is reporting no ill-effects from being knocked unconscious in his Aragon crash, although he is carrying a minor finger injury from the incident. Long-time pacesetter Stefan Bradl, who also had a trip into the gravel, ended up sixth. Pol and Aleix Espargaro sandwiched Dani Pedrosa in seventh and ninth, with Alvaro Bautista completing the top 10. The field is up to 24 bikes this weekend, with the works Yamaha team running a third entry for its Japanese test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga. He began his MotoGP return with 12th place.