While Casey Stoner was in a class of his own during Friday practice at Phillip Island, 2012 MotoGP title fighters Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa were again a close match.
The pair have finished first (Pedrosa) and second (Lorenzo) for five of the past six races, with Lorenzo carrying a 23-point lead into this weekend's penultimate round.
Lorenzo had the edge over Pedrosa for the runner-up position in the morning session, with the Repsol Honda rider reversing the order in afternoon, when team-mate Stoner was 0.885s in front.
Stoner set his best lap time using the harder tyre, which Pedrosa has yet to try.
“Fortunately, today we've had two dry sessions which was not expected and that's good at a circuit like this as the first day is important to find a good direction for the set up,” said Pedrosa.
“I only tried the soft rear tyre today, so tomorrow will be important to test the hard compound and some different ideas on the electronics and suspension to improve the feeling.
“Casey is going very fast here, as expected, so let's see if it stays dry tomorrow and we can work on the pace and close the gap to Casey".
Pedrosa insists he is not thinking about the Championship, but did admit on Thursday that a last round home showdown between the Spaniards at Valencia “would be good”.
For that to happen, Pedrosa effectively needs to beat Lorenzo on Sunday.
Pedrosa suffered a scare in the morning session when Cal Crutchlow's knee slider brushed a kerb and kicked up a cloud of water just in front of the Spaniard, causing a big tank slapper that the RC213V rider just managed to control.