Indeed, that appears the biggest difference. I'm happy to admit that I was wrong when I dismissed the EBD as the root of MS' qualifying troubles last year. So far it looks as this might really have been the case.
I also thought, that nothing would change in qualifying as Nico was basically always ahead even in times, in which MGP had no EBD - but looking back at the time, i can see that the gaps were at least closer than for the most part of 2011. But we shouldn´t forget that Pirelli modified the rear-tyres..so that might also play a role.
However it´s just been 2 Qualifying-sessions and i don´t think MSC really turned the tables 180 degrees, but it at least one can expect that it will stay pretty close between the two.
I´m really interested to see, what happens in China. It usually appeared to be a bogey-track for MSC. If that stays so, it might be a case of "bad timing" - last year MGP had it´s best race-performance there. Without the fuel-issues Nico might have got a podium-finish. Maybe i´m wrong again though....