Former 125cc world champion and 2009 250cc rookie Gabor Talmacsi has set the fastest lap time during the single 45-minute Friday free practice session ahead of Sunday night's season-opening Qatar Grand Prix.

The Hungarian was fast throughout the session, eventually putting his Aspar-run Aprilia just 0.041 clear of team-mate Alvaro Bautista, with 2008 Qatar winner Mattia Pasini a close third on his Team Toth debut.

Former factory KTM rider Hiroshi Aoyama made several appearances in second position, before being bumped back to fourth for Scot Honda while Hector Barbera completed the top five for Pepe World Team Aprilia.

Reigning 250cc world champion Marco Simoncelli, who underwent surgery on a fractured scaphoid bone in his right wrist on Tuesday, amazingly completed 16 laps - the most by any rider was 18 - to be classified in 16th position, just under three seconds from Talmacsi.

Second free practice and qualifying takes place on Saturday night.

Friday practice - Qatar:

1. Talmacsi 2min 1.902sec
2. Bautista (Aprilia) +0.041sec
3. Pasini (Aprilia) +0.294sec
4. Aoyama (Honda) +0.444sec
5. Barbera (Aprilia) +0.481sec
6. Wilairot (Honda) +0.481sec
7. Luthi (Aprilia) +0.524sec
8. Cluzel (Aprilia) +0.799sec
9. Pesek (Aprilia) +0.862sec
10. Faubel (Honda) +0.880sec

16. Simoncelli (Gilera) +2.974sec