Reigning world champion Uno Shoma will head into Saturday’s free skate at Turin’s figure skating Grand Prix Final in pole position to clinch the title.
The three-time Olympic medallist from Japan scored 99.99 in the men’s short program at the Torino Palavela to lead compatriots Yamamoto Sota, 94.86, and Miura Kao, 87.07.
The 25-year-old was one of two skaters to win both their Grand Prix events this season, alongside 18-year-old American Ilia Malinin.
But Malinin, who became the first skater to land a quadruple Axel in September, erred in all three of his jumping passes to score 80.10 in fifth place.
Just 0.30 ahead of the teenager in fourth is home favourite Daniel Grassl, while Sota in second was the only skater to match Shoma for technical proficiency on his senior Final debut.
In the pairs short program, there was more success for Japan as Miura Riku and Kihara Ryuichi edged out the U.S. pair that pipped them to the world title back in March.
The Japanese duo scored 78.08, just 0.17 shy of their career-best and 0.43 ahead of Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier going into Friday’s free skate.
Their execution was marginally better than the world champions, while Canada’s Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps sit third with 69.34.
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