GP2 veteran Luca Filippi set the pace on the first day of testing ahead of the forthcoming 2009-10 Asia Series season, as the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi opened up its gates for the first time.

With the opening round of the Asia Series coinciding with the Formula 1 season finale in November, the 22-strong field enjoyed the first chance to sample the brand new Abu Dhabi circuit in preparation for the third-running of the championship.

Although nearly every team welcoms a new driver to its fold, there were familiar faces at the top of the timesheets as Filippi, who won the final round of the 2009 GP2 Series with Super Nova, revived his relationship with the Asia Series-only Meritus team to set the pace.

With lap times tumbling in the afternoon session, the Italian was three tenths faster than Roldan Rodriguez, the Spaniard - who finished third overall for Piquet GP in Asia last season - beginning his tenure with the Scuderia Coloni team with the second fastest time.

Diego Nunes followed in third in the second Meritus machine, ahead of Davide Valsecchi, driving for iSport this season, and Luiz Razia, who has joined Barwa Addax.

Top of the GP2 rookies was Sam Bird, who skips the final round of the Formula 3 Euroseries to test for multiple champions ART Grand Prix, the Briton finishing ahead of Trident's Johnny Cecotto.

Other newcomers to appear inside the top ten included Bird's Euroseries rival Christian Vietoris, driving for reigning Asia champions DAMS, Daniel Zampieri (Piquet GP) and Max Chilton (Barwa Addax).

Outside the top ten, Formula Master quartet Josef Kral (Super Nova), Fabio Leimer (ORT), Alexander Rossi (ORT) and Vladimir Arabadzhiev (Piquet GP) were all together from 14th down to 17th, while ART's second driver - Japanese Formula 3 Champion Marcus Ericsson - and Briton James Jakes were a lowly 18th and 19th.

Friday 23rd October - AM session

1. Davide Valsecchi iSport 1min 57.504s
2. Luca Filippi Meritus 1min 57.539s
3. Christian Vietoris DAMS 1min 57.632s
4. Luiz Razia Barwa 1min 57.706s
5. Alexander Rossi ORT 1min 57.877s
6. Diego Nunes Meritus 1min 57.907s
7. Sam Bird ART 1min 58.087s
8. James Jakes Super Nova 1min 58.577s
9. Johnny Cecotto Trident 1min 59.266s
10. Daniel Zampieri Piquet GP 1min 59.504s
11. Max Chilton Barwa 2mins 00.142s
12. Marcus Ericsson ART 2mins 00.407s
13. Edoardo Piscopo DAMS 2mins 00.782s
14. Pablo Sanchez Arden 2mins 01.111s
15. Josef Kral Super Nova 2mins 01.127s
16. Will Bratt Coloni 2mins 01.308s
17. Michael Herck DPR 2mins 01.333s
18. Rodolfo Gonzalez Arden 2mins 01.516s
19. Fabio Leimer ORT 2mins 01.683s
20. Vladimir Arabadzhiev Piquet GP 2mins 03.842s
21. Plamen Kralev Trident 2mins 04.288s
22. Roldan Rodriguez Coloni No Time
23. Giacomo Ricci DPR No Time

Friday 23rd October - PM session

1. Luca Filippi Meritus 1min 52.842s
2. Roldan Rodriguez Coloni 1min 53.091s
3. Diego Nunes Meritus 1min 53.188s
4. Davide Valsecchi iSport 1min 53.279s
5. Luiz Razia Barwa 1min 53.486s
6. Sam Bird ART 1min 53.572s
7. Johnny Cecotto Trident 1min 53.681s
8. Christian Vietoris DAMS 1min 53.682s
9. Daniel Zampieri Piquet GP 1min 53.916s
10. Max Chilton Barwa 1min 54.022s
11. Will Bratt Coloni 1min 54.060s
12. Michael Herck DPR 1min 54.086s
13. Edoardo Piscopo DAMS 1min 54.297s
14. Josef Kral Super Nova 1min 54.494s
15. Fabio Leimer ORT 1min 54.494s
16. Alexander Rossi ORT 1min 54.516s
17. Vladimir Arabadzhiev Piquet GP 1min 54.661s
18. Marcus Ericsson ART 1min 54.740s
19. James Jakes Super Nova 1min 55.714s
20. Rodolfo Gonzalez Arden 1min 55.758s
21. Plamen Kralev Trident 1min 59.411s
22. Giacomo Ricci DPR No Time



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