Suzuka: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in practice for the Japanese Grand Prix on Friday, edging teammate and Formula One championship rival Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton's time of 1 minute, 35.078 seconds shortly after the halfway mark of the afternoon practice at the Suzuka circuit was 0.240 seconds ahead of Rosberg.
Hamilton leads Rosberg by three points heading into Sunday's race, having won the past two races.
Williams' Valtteri Bottas was third fastest ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button.
A powerful typhoon is approaching Japan but isn't projected to hit the region until Monday. Rain is still in the forecast for race day on Sunday.
Red Bull driver and reigning champion Sebastian Vettel, who has won four of the past five races at Suzuka, was fifth fastest followed by Ferrari pair Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso.
Friday's second session featured plenty of incidents.
A red flag came out with three minutes left when Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso stopped on the exit of Spoon Curve. Race officials elected to end the session, as Vergne's car was stranded on the track.
Vergne had sat out the morning session to allow Dutch teenager Max Verstappen make his F1 weekend debut. The 17-year-old completed 22 laps and finished twelfth fastest before with the Toro Rosso had an engine failure in the closing minutes of the first practice.
Vettel's Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo was the early pacesetter but crashed on a right-hand turn before hitting the wall. He was unhurt but there was significant damage to the left-front of his car. Despite the crash, Ricciardo still ended up 10th overall thanks to his early pace.
Caterham driver Kamui Kobayashi and Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez also had crashes.