Sebastian Vettel led team mate Mark Webber in a Red Bull one-two in second practice in Japan on Friday afternoon.
The world champion lapped Suzuka in 1m 33.852s, making him the only driver to crack the 1m 34s barrier on Pirelli's medium tyre, but the Australian was super-close with 1m 34.020s.
In another session full of incident, Williams' Pastor Maldonado, McLaren's Sergio Perez and Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen all came back to the pits without their cars after falling foul of this tricky track.
Nico Rosberg was Red Bull's closest challenger in his Mercedes with 1m 34.114s, an encouraging 0.262s off the outright pace, but Lewis Hamilton had a relatively disappointing run to sixth on 1m 34.442s.
Between the two Mercedes team mates were the Lotuses of Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, with the Finn lapping in 1m 34.202s to the Frenchmans 1m 34.411s before he spun at Turn 7 during his race simulation run and couldnt get his E21 out of the gravel.
Daniel Ricciardo put Toro Rosso seventh on 1m 34.473s ahead of Ferrari's Felipe Massa, who once again showed team mate Fernando Alonso the way round with 1m 34.698s. The Spaniard spun heading into Turn 9, Degner 2, while running on mediums, and was left 10th overall on 1m 35.087s after Jenson Button pushed ahead to take ninth for McLaren with a lap in 1m 34.912s.
The Woking team lost Perez early on when he got his McLaren out of shape going into Turn 13, the Spoon Curve, and hit the outer tyre wall hard enough to do damage that prevented him from continuing. Like Bianchi in FP1, the Mexican was subsequently seen nursing his elbow with an ice pack.
Esteban Gutierrez was Sauber's lead runner with 1m 35.089s, with team mate Nico Hulkenberg 13th on 1m 35.182s behind Jean-Eric Vergne in the second Toro Rosso on 1m 35.109s.
Despite a spin in the chicane and a moment when he appeared to anger Mark Webber, Paul di Resta was 14th ahead of Force India team mate Adrian Sutil, with 1m 35.275s to 1m 35.341s. Perez was left 16th on 1m 35.709s as the Williamses of Valtterri Bottas and Pastor Maldonado were 17th and 18th on 1m 36.136s and 1m 36.722s. Maldonado also went off at Degner 2 very early on in the session, damaging his FW35's front wing and left-hand front suspension.
Charles Pic just shaded Caterham partner Giedo van der Garde, with 1m 37.630s to 1m 37.905s, as Max Chilton lapped his Marussia in 1m 38.121s for the final position.
After his shunt at Degner 2 this morning, Jules Bianchi's Marussia suffered chassis damage that could not be repaired in time. The Frenchman sat out Practice Two as a result and the team are currently building up a car around the spare chassis so that he can compete in Saturdays final practice session. (Formula1.com)