A potential pacesetter throughout the build-up to the inaugural GP2 Series campaign, Ernesto Viso returned to the top of the timesheets with the afternoon's fastest time in Barcelona, but he could not displace Nelson Piquet Jr's quickest time from the head of the overall list.

Piquet Jr set a stunning lap to top the timesheets after the first morning of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya, recording a 1min 23.315secs effort to not only beat the Super Nova International entry of closest rival Jose Maria Lopez by 0.8secs, but also see off Viso's later mark by a full tenth.

Now with iSport International, the Venezuelan finished a busy afternoon outing with a best lap of 1min 23.432secs, which was good enough to eclipse Piquet's best lap of the session by 0.134secs, but he still had to give best to his former F3 rival, having been third behind the Brazilian in the earlier session.

Piquet and Viso sandwiched another South American, Jose Maria Lopez, in the morning, the Argentine clearly revelling in his move to Super Nova and repeating his strong Paul Ricard form with second in session one before slipping to ninth fastest in the afternoon. In his place came Piquet's team-mate Xandi Negrao, who appears to have made a big step forward as he enters his second year in the category.

F3 Euroseries champion Lewis Hamilton edged back towards the top of the charts after a quiet showing last time out, claiming fourth fastest time of the morning session, but his performance was undone after lunch as Franck Perera made his first real mark on pre-season testing with the same position behind Viso. The Frenchman confirmed the pace shown by DAMS team-mate Ferdinando Monfardini in the morning session, posting a lap just 0.4secs slower than the lead time.

Hamilton was fifth quickest in the later session for reigning champions ART Grand Prix, but team-mnate Alex Premat struggled for pace, claiming only 13th and 24th places in the two sessions. Arden duo Michael Ammermuller and Nicolas Lapierre took sixth and seventh respectively, while Clivio Piccione wound up eighth as the DPR Direxiv team finally found some pace after a troubled Paul Ricard test. Lopez and Adrian Valles rounded out the afternoon top ten.

The later session proved to be the quicker of the two, but there were still notable performances from Hiroki Yoshimoto and Gianmaria Bruni in the morning, as they forced their way into the top ten. Yoshimoto's BCN team-mate Timo Glock was a lowly 18th in both sessions ad he continued to find his feet in GP2, while Bruni's Trident Racing partner, Andreas Zuber, improved from 15th to 13th after the midday interval.

There were relatively few incidents during the day, with Luca Filippi spinning his FMS car in both sessions and Viso iSport team-mate Tristan Gommendy damaging his front wing and not completing the morning session. There was also a no-show for Racing Engineering's Adam Carroll in the afternoon, the Irishman - who had been a disappointing 16th fastest in the morning, not recording a time after lunch.

Leading times (27 March) - Barcelona:

Nelson Piquet Jr Piquet 1min 23.215secs 1min 23.566secs 29/21Ernesto Viso iSport 1min 24.163secs 1min 23.432secs 31/14Alexandre Negrao Piquet 1min 24.893secs 1min 23.695secs 48/23Frank Perera DAMS 1min 24.884secs 1min 23.892secs 29/29Lewis Hamilton ART 1min 24.453secs 1min 23.995secs 24/28Jose Maria Lopez Super Nova 1min 24.147secs 1min 24.489secs 25/19Michael Ammermuller Arden 1min 25.626secs 1min 24.228secs 31/25Nicolas Lapierre Arden 1min 25.052secs 1min 24.237secs 31/16Clivio Piccione DPR Direxiv 1min 24.920secs 1min 24.255secs 27/24Adrian Valles Campos 1min 25.240secs 1min 24.570secs 27/22Ferdinando Monfardini DAMS 1min 24.751secs 1min 24.665secs 31/27Olivier Pla DPR Direxiv 1min 25.894secs 1min 24.696secs 11/20Andreas Zuber Trident 1min 25.307secs 1min 24.721secs 40/15Hiroki Yoshimoto BCN 1min 24.798secs 1min 26.065secs 17/10Gianmaria Bruni Trident 1min 24.875secs 1min 26.731secs 27/14Lucas di Grassi Durango 1min 25.012secs 1min 25.827secs 35/35Tristan Gommendy iSport no time 1min 25.022secs 0/22Alexandre Premat ART 1min 25.100secs 1min 27.172secs 27/9Adam Carroll Racing Engineering 1min 25.324secs no time 21/0Sergio Hernandez Durango 1min 25.366secs 1min 26.026secs 26/16 Timo Glock BCN 1min 25.399secs 1min 25.968secs 31/15Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova 1min 25.679secs 1min 25.794secs 24/16Felix Porteiro Campos 1min 28.867secs 1min 25.948secs 21/27Javier Villa Racing Engineering 1min 26.639secs 1min 25.973secs 32/5Luca Filippi FMS 1min 26.083secs 1min 26.041secs 21/17Jason Tahinci FMS 1min 29.321secs 1min 28.558secs 14/21

[Times displayed AM/PM, with fastest in bold; lap counts also shown AM/PM]


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