GP2 champions ART Grand Prix remained on top as post-season testing began in Abu Dhabi thanks to its Japanese driver Nobuharu Matsushita.
The opening morning of the three-day test was led by three drivers remaining with their 2015 teams: Matsushita, Alex Lynn of DAMS and Norman Nato of Arden.
A year on from his GP2 debut, Matushita led the way with a 1m49.180s set early in the session and finished up 0.124 seconds ahead of Lynn.
In fourth behind Nato was Stoffel Vandoorne’s ART replacement for the day, Oliver Rowland.
The Formula Renault 3.5 champion edged out his long-time rival Pierre Gasly, who took fifth in the Prema team’s maiden GP2 session.
Nicholas Latifi was sixth in Gasly’s DAMS machine in front of?Tio Ellinas, returning to GP2 to test with Russian Time.
Rapax tester Andre Negrao and Richie Stanaway at Carlin were next, with Nick Yelloly 10th for MP Motorsport. and Jordan King completed the top 10.
Jordan King and?Sergey Sirotkin were next for Racing Engineering ahead of Carlin’s Dean Stoneman.
In 14th was the top GP2 newcomer, European Formula 3 champion Felix Rosenqvist for Status, just ahead of Trident’s GP3 runner-up Luca Ghiotto.
Mercedes DTM champion Pascal Wehrlein took 18th in the other Prema car.
Morning session results
|1||Nobuharu Matsushita||ART Grand Prix||1:49.180||25|
|3||Norman Nato||Arden International||1:49.479||0.299||17|
|4||Oliver Rowland||ART Grand Prix||1:49.501||0.321||12|
|5||Pierre Gasly||Prema Racing||1:49.508||0.328||16|
|7||Tio Ellinas||Russian Time||1:49.816||0.636||14|
|10||Nick Yelloly||MP Motorsport||1:50.067||0.887||23|
|11||Jordan King||Racing Engineering||1:50.078||0.898||20|
|12||Sergey Sirotkin||Racing Engineering||1:50.200||1.020||15|
|14||Felix Rosenqvist||Status Grand Prix||1:50.264||1.084||21|
|16||Artem Markelov||Russian Time||1:50.543||1.363||15|
|18||Pascal Wehrlein||Prema Racing||1:51.022||1.842||18|
|19||Gustav Malja||Arden International||1:51.032||1.852||23|
|20||Konstantin Tereschenko||Campos Racing||1:51.257||2.077||17|
|22||Richard Gonda||MP Motorsport||1:51.745||2.565||25|
|23||Sean Gelael||Campos Racing||1:52.340||3.160||7|
|24||Philo Armand||Status Grand Prix||1:54.167||4.987||20|