Jarno Trulli set the pace as the Formula One boys finally got to enjoy Suzuka in bright sunshine ahead of qualifying for the Japanese Grand prix.

With lap times almost immediately ten seconds quicker than they had been during the faster of Friday's two sessions, the Italian gave Toyota a welcome place in the spotlight at its home event, raising optimism of a good result in Sunday's race.

After three hours of wet running on the opening day of the event, the drivers had a third of the time to fettle their cars for the dry circuit, a task made harder by Suzuka's absence from the schedule for the past two seasons.

Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi appeared set to be the surprise pacesetter, leading the way for much of the morning, but Trulli returned to the head of the timesheets in the closing moments, with a lap of 1min 31.709secs that pipped the Swiss driver by 0.062secs.

The leading pair were in a class of their own, with the rest of the field at least six-tenths adrift, headed by Nico Rosberg's Williams as the majority of the pack lapped in the 1min 32secs bracket. Indeed, the entire field was covered by just 1.4secs, with only an understeering Tonio Liuzzi failing to join the party.

Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the top five, with title contenders Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button both in the top ten for Brawn, although the points leader also complained of understeer. Adrian Sutil, Heikki Kovalainen and Jaime Alguersuari were the other drivers in the top half of the field.

The green circuit caught out a number of drivers, with Kovalainen, Alguersuari and both BMW Saubers all having moments. The most damaging incident, however, could see Mark Webber's weekend take a turn for the worse, after the Australian speared off at Degner, ploughing his Red Bull into the tyre wall. Having suffered offs in each of the last two races, Webber has been eliminated from title contention, but had expected to be a frontrunner in Japan. He ended the morning 19th overall.


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