GP2 Asia points leader Davide Valsecchi made a strong start to the third weekend of the championship by topping free practice at Sakhir this morning.
The iSport driver claimed first position by 0.022 seconds over ART's Jules Bianchi, while Valsecchi's team-mate and nearest title rival Oliver Turvey was only 0.003s further back in third.
Both ART cars were in the top five, with Sam Bird fifth behind Meritus' Luca Filippi.
After its shock near-win in Abu Dhabi, DPR maintained its strong form with Giacomo Ricci taking sixth ahead of the DAMS duo, although his team-mate Michael Herck was only 16th.
Alvaro Parente was 10th in his first session with Coloni, but fellow returnees Adrian Zaugg (Trident) and Yelmer Buurman (Ocean) were back in 18th and 22nd respectively. Super Nova's newcomer Jake Rosenzweig started out with 23rd on the timesheets.
GP2 is sharing the Sakhir bill with the V8 Supercar championship this weekend, and is using the traditional track layout rather than the lengthened version that will be adopted for the Bahrain Grand Prix and GP2 Asia finale next month.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Davide Valsecchi iSport 1m44.852s 2. Jules Bianchi ART 1m44.874s + 0.022s 3. Oliver Turvey iSport 1m44.877s + 0.025s 4. Luca Filippi Meritus 1m45.046s + 0.194s 5. Sam Bird ART 1m45.229s + 0.377s 6. Giacomo Ricci DPR 1m45.249s + 0.397s 7. Edoardo Piscopo DAMS 1m45.324s + 0.472s 8. Christian Vietoris DAMS 1m45.402s + 0.550s 9. Alexander Rossi Meritus 1m45.424s + 0.572s 10. Alvaro Parente Coloni 1m45.432s + 0.580s 11. Javier Villa Arden 1m45.460s + 0.608s 12. Charles Pic Arden 1m45.527s + 0.675s 13. Sergio Perez Addax 1m45.547s + 0.695s 14. Daniele Zampieri Rapax 1m45.725s + 0.873s 15. Max Chilton Addax 1m45.785s + 0.933s 16. Michael Herck DPR 1m45.803s + 0.951s 17. Will Bratt Coloni 1m45.852s + 1.000s 18. Adrian Zaugg Trident 1m45.922s + 1.070s 19. Josef Kral Super Nova 1m46.146s + 1.294s 20 Fabio Leimer Ocean 1m46.271s + 1.419s 21. Vladimir Arabadzhiev Rapax 1m46.634s + 1.782s 22. Yelmer Buurman Ocean 1m46.726s + 1.874s 23. Jake Rosenzweig Super Nova 1m47.488s + 2.636s 24. Plamen Kralev Trident 1m55.803s + 10.951s