With Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo sidelined by injury, Honda riders conquered the top five places in Friday practice at Sepang in Malaysia, led by Dani Pedrosa.
The factory Repsol Honda Team filled the top three positions - Pedrosa holding a substantial 0.8sec advantage over newly crowned double world champion Casey Stoner, with Andrea Dovizioso 1.340sec from the top after failing to improve in the afternoon.
Then came Gresini Honda riders Marco Simoncelli and Hiroshi Aoyama, with Colin Edwards the first non-RC212V rider in sixth, 1.741sec from Pedrosa.
With Repsol cutting back to two riders in 2012, the team now has just two more chances to fulfil its dream of a podium sweep before the end of the season.
Pedrosa had led the way with soft tyres in the morning session, then improved his lap time with the hard rear tyre during the afternoon. At the end of the second session, the Spaniard used a new soft rear to record a lap of 2min 1.250sec, almost one second faster than the official circuit record set by Stoner in 2007.
"Today we went pretty fast and consistent even though the track wasn't very clean," said Pedrosa. "We did a good job in both practice sessions, but I would like to improve a little more on the chassis side to feel more comfortable with the front and choose the right tyre for the race distance.
"At the moment we are doing good steps but we need to keep on working with the same style and try to perform well tomorrow in qualifying. We had a bad qualifying in Australia and we want to be stronger here and do it better".
Stoner improved his times in the afternoon with the hard compound, after doing 21 laps with the softer one.
"Everything went pretty well today, we're not too far off the pace with race tyres, we did over race distance and were pretty happy with the lap times we were doing on the soft tyre," he said.
"We then went to the hard tyre and found it a little better and more consistent, we'll have to see what the conditions are like tomorrow but so far we're pretty pleased and the bike feels ok.