A glance at the Friday afternoon timesheets might have Repsol Honda fans concerned, with Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner listed just seventh and tenth fastest.

But those positions don't reflect their true pace, since both elected not to run the softer rear tyre.

With air temperatures of 29?C and 51?C on the afternoon asphalt, the possibility of the softer tyre lasting the race distance in similar conditions appears questionable.

"It's very hot on track and I think everyone is struggling a little on the soft compound tyre," said Stoner, fastest in the cooler morning session. "This afternoon we used the harder tyre and they seemed to be a little more consistent."

But Stoner also suffered a recurrence of the chatter issues that have long troubled the RC213V project.

"We're still not very happy with how the bike is feeling and we can certainly improve on that but we're fairly happy as far as pace is concerned," he said.

Stoner admitted that the closing stages of second practice turned into an unofficial qualifying session as many riders vaulted up the order on the softer rubber.

"Everyone seemed to treat this afternoon's session like it was qualifying, using the softer tyre but in the end this is their choice!" he said.

"There are lots of things to try before qualifying tomorrow, we need to continue working on reducing the chatter and a few other things, but in general we're pretty happy".

Stoner starts this weekend eight points behind Yamaha's championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, who led the afternoon session.

Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa are all former Catalunya MotoGP winners. Pedrosa, seeking his first win of 2012, spent much of Friday gathering tyre endurance data.

"Our main target today has been to properly test the tyres because it will be very important to make the right choice for the race," said Pedrosa, second to Stoner in the morning session.

"Here in the past, the soft tyre worked quite well with high temperatures, but we still don't know how long it will last. I did the whole morning practice with the softer compound and I kept the hard in the afternoon and I felt good with both.

"My lap times were almost identical in both conditions, and the riders in front put the softer at the end, so I'm not worried with my position today. It's also true than they have improved the times by a second, so we will need to understand better if the softer will last the race distance.

"25 laps are a lot, you spend a lot of time on the edge of the tyre and it's import ant to keep them 'fresh' until the end. We will keep working on some details tomorrow morning in order to be ready for the qualifying".

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