Julian Simon comfortably claimed the fastest lap time during the single 40-minute 125cc Friday free practice session ahead of Sunday night's season-opening Qatar Grand Prix.

Aspar Aprilia rider Simon, the man to beat throughout winter testing, began to assert control from the halfway stage and was able to keep team-mate and nearest rival Bradley Smith over one-second behind him.

Smith in turn held off Jack & Jones Aprilia rider Nicolas Terol by 0.3sec, with Marc Marquez the top non-Aprilia rider in fourth for KTM.

The next best Brit after Smith was Scott Redding in eleventh for Blusens Aprilia, with Danny Webb 19th and rookie Matt Hoyle 30th out of the 31 riders on the brand new Haojue machine. Hoyle's experienced team-mate Michael Ranseder was 26th.

Second 125cc free practice and qualifying takes place on Saturday night.

Friday practice - Qatar:

1. Simon (Aprilia)
2. Smith (Aprilia) +1.032sec
3. Terol (Aprilia) +1.374sec
4. Marquez (KTM) +1.475sec
5. Gadea (Aprilia) +1.575sec
6. Cortese (Derbi) +1.792sec
7. Iannone (Aprilia) +1.878sec
8. Bradl (Aprilia) +2.084sec
9. Espargaro (Derbi) +2.379sec
10. Folger (Aprilia) +2.631sec

11. Redding (Aprilia) +2.703sec
19. Webb (Aprilia) +3.639sec
30. Hoyle (Haojue) +11.603sec