Matthieu Vaxiviere has topped the timesheets in the opening session of the pre-season Formula Renault 3.5 test in Aragon.

The French driver notched up a hot lap of a 1m 41.311s towards the end of the session on the opening morning of the two day test at the Motorland park. The Lotus driver topped the morning lap times by four-tenths of a second over Fortec Motorsport's Jazeman Jaafar.

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The opening session began slowly as the teams waited for track conditions to warm up at the Spanish circuit. The late arrival of Roberto Merhi gave the test a Formula 1 flavour, as the Pons Racing driver had flown straight from the F1 Malaysian Grand Prix, where he had finished 15th for Manor.

After an hour of running time Vaxiviere stormed to the top 1m 42.556s, two-tenths up on second place Oliver Rowland.

As the temperature began to rise the lap times started to fall, with Tom Dillmann taking charge on the timesheets. Formula 1 star Merhi was handed a 15-minute penalty from circuit officials for not respecting waved flags.

With 20 minutes remaining in the first session Egor Orudzhev stopped on track forcing a late red flag and setting up a late sprint ahead of lunch.

Vaxiviere took full advantage, reclaiming top with Jaafar second and his Fortec Motorsport team-mate Oliver Rowland in third. Dillmann claimed fourth while Gustav Malja fifth and Dean Stoneman sixth ended the morning in sixth.

The previous pre-season test high-flyer Tio Ellinas finished seventh, followed by Dutch duo Beitske Visser and Nyck De Vries with Pietro Fantin rounding off the top ten.

The two day pre-season test in Aragon continues this afternoon, ahead of the season opener at the same venue on the 25-26 April.