Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber maintained Red Bull's one-two formation in the second Friday practice session at Suzuka.
Just they had in the morning, the Red Bull duo wasted no time in moving to the head of the times, with Vettel hitting the front after 20 minutes and remaining there for most of the rest of the session.
The only man able to head last year's Suzuka winner was his team-mate Webber, who took on soft tyres slightly earlier and therefore nipped ahead of Vettel for a couple of minutes at the one-hour mark.
But once on the same rubber, Vettel responded to Webber's 1m31.860s with a 1m31.465s to ensure a clean sweep of Friday top spots.
Lewis Hamilton's crash in the first session heavily impinged on his running this afternoon, with the McLaren not ready to take to the track until there were just eight minutes left. The Briton crammed in seven laps but was only 13th, two seconds slower than Vettel.
After its quiet morning, Ferrari showed its hand in the second session. Fernando Alonso led the way before the Red Bulls got up to speed, and ended up fourth, 0.8 seconds off the pace, and just ahead of his team-mate Felipe Massa and McLaren's other title contender Jenson Button.
Renault goes into the weekend in very promising shape. Despite a high-speed spin through the gravel in the S curves - an incident replicated by Virgin's Lucas di Grassi and Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi - Robert Kubica took third place again. His Suzuka rookie team-mate Vitaly Petrov also held a top three position for a while and ended up seventh.
Michael Schumacher remained quick and took eighth, three places ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg. The seven-time champion ran very wide at Degner late on but got out of the gravel without repeating Hamilton's meeting with the barriers.
Adrian Sutil (Force India) and Nico Hulkenberg (Williams) completed the top 10, with the latter's team-mate Rubens Barrichello losing mileage to an engine issue.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:31.465 31 2. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:31.860 + 0.395 29 3. Kubica Renault 1:32.200 + 0.735 32 4. Alonso Ferrari 1:32.362 + 0.897 34 5. Massa Ferrari 1:32.519 + 1.054 35 6. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:32.533 + 1.068 28 7. Petrov Renault 1:32.703 + 1.238 32 8. Schumacher Mercedes 1:32.831 + 1.366 27 9. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:32.842 + 1.377 26 10. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:32.851 + 1.386 26 11. Rosberg Mercedes 1:32.880 + 1.415 26 12. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:33.471 + 2.006 31 13. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:33.481 + 2.016 8 14. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:33.564 + 2.099 16 15. Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1:33.697 + 2.232 33 16. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:34.005 + 2.540 32 17. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:34.055 + 2.590 37 18. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:34.310 + 2.845 33 19. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:36.095 + 4.630 37 20. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:36.333 + 4.868 33 21. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:36.630 + 5.165 28 22. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:36.834 + 5.369 28 23. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:37.352 + 5.887 33 24. Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1:37.831 + 6.366 34 All Timing Unofficial