Robert Visoiu set the pace in the opening Auto GP free practice session of the 2013 at Monza.
The Romanian rookie and Ghinzani Motorsport - with which he has graduated from Italian Formula 3 - is one of the few combinations to have tested Auto GP's heavily-revised car before arriving at Monza.
That experience paid off as his 1m37.439s lap put him at the head of the timesheets, 0.174s clear of another F3 graduate, Virtuosi UK's Andrea Roda.
Euronova's Japanese duo of Yoshitaka Kuroda and Kimiya Sato took third and fourth at the start of their first weekend in the category.
Remaining with Vincenzo Sospiri's team for a third season, Kuroda edged out Sato, a race winner in German F3 and the Euro Series, by 0.065s.
The late nature of reigning Formula 2 champion Luciano Bacheta's deal with Zele led to predictable cockpit- comfort issues during practice, but the Briton was optimistic of making progress from his respectable morning position of fifth.
Bacheta's high-profile team-mate Narain Karthikeyan was eighth, behind Super Nova racer Vittorio Ghirelli and last year's Italian F3 champion Riccardo Agostini - who only used old tyres in the session.
Karthikeyan, who raced in F1 with HRT last year, was guarded over whether he would add more Auto GP rounds to his season after this weekend.
Sergio Campana reached agreement to race for Ibiza Racing in the week leading up to Monza's season opener. The 2011 Italian F3 champion had a minor gearbox problem on his way to ninth, while Antonio Spavone completed the top-10 for Super Nova.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Robert Visoiu Ghinzani 1m37.439s 2. Andrea Roda Virtuosi UK 1m37.613s + 0.174s 3. Yoshitaka Kuroda Euronova 1m37.948s + 0.509s 4. Kimiya Sato Euronova 1m38.013s + 0.574s 5. Luciano Bacheta Zele 1m38.174s + 0.735s 6. Vittorio Ghirelli Super Nova 1m38.185s + 0.746s 7. Riccardo Agostini Manor MP 1m38.201s + 0.762s 8. Narain Karthikeyan Zele 1m38.266s + 0.827s 9. Sergio Campana Ibiza 1m38.644s + 1.205s 10. Antonio Spavone Super Nova 1m38.730s + 1.291s 11. Giuseppe Cipriani Ibiza 1m39.698s + 2.259s 12. Max Snegirev Virtuosi UK 1m40.300s + 2.861s 13. Meindert van Buuren Manor MP 1m42.534s + 5.095s