McLaren's Matsushita fastest on first day of testing in new F2 era

McLaren test and development driver Nobuharu Matsushita led an ART Grand Prix 1-2 on the opening day of Formula 2 pre-season testing at Barcelona

McLaren's Matsushita fastest on first day of testing in new F2 era

Matsushita, who has been a Honda protege for several seasons and last February was handed a role with McLaren, lapped the Spanish circuit in a fastest time of 1m29.061s in Monday's afternoon session as F2 kicked off its new era following the series' recent rebranding.

The Japanese driver recorded his effort - 0.011 seconds quicker than the fastest time recorded on the opening day of the Barcelona test last year by former ART team-mate Sergey Sirotkin - an hour into the afternoon session, which remained unbeated for the remainder of the day.

New team-mate Alexander Albon ended up as Matsushita's closest challenger, the GP3 Series runner-up recording lapping within a tenth of Matsushita in the final hour to make up an ART 1-2.

Albon's time was matched exactly by Norman Nato late on, with Racing Engineering's Gustav Malja a close fourth and morning pacesetter Johnny Cecotto making up the top five.

Prema, which took Pierre Gasly to the GP2 title last year and will field an all-rookie line-up with two Ferrari juniors in 2017, had a low-key opening day with Charles Leclerc its fastest driver in 12th in the combined timesheets.

Ex-F1 driver Roberto Merhi, who is testing with Campos this week with a view racing in the series in 2017, was slowest of all.

MORNING TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Gap Laps
1 Johnny Cecotto Jr. Rapax 1m29.239s 11
2 Oliver Rowland DAMS 0.116s 13
3 Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 0.313s 18
4 Nyck de Vries Rapax 0.386s 11
5 Norman Nato Pertamina Arden 0.435s 10
6 Luca Ghiotto RUSSIAN TIME 0.488s 18
7 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 0.504s 13
8 Charles Leclerc Prema Racing 0.689s 21
9 Alexander Albon ART Grand Prix 0.779s 18
10 Sean Gelael Pertamina Arden 0.923s 10
11 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 0.949s 12
12 Gustav Malja Racing Engineering 1.126s 16
13 Antonio Fuoco Prema Racing 1.194s 24
14 Jordan King MP Motorsport 1.433s 17
15 Sergio Canamasas Trident 1.662s 17
16 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing 1.753s 16
17 Sergio Sette Camara MP Motorsport 1.833s 10
18 Nabil Jeffri Trident 1.991s 13
19 Roberto Merhi Campos Racing 2.231s 14
20 Louis Deletraz Racing Engineering 2.352s 17

AFTERNOON TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Gap Laps
1 Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 1m29.061s 43
2 Alexander Albon ART Grand Prix 0.096s 42
3 Norman Nato Pertamina Arden 0.096s 28
4 Gustav Malja Racing Engineering 0.169s 29
5 Johnny Cecotto Jr. Rapax 0.295s 27
6 Louis Deletraz Racing Engineering 0.638s 31
7 Oliver Rowland DAMS 0.664s 24
8 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 0.689s 27
9 Charles Leclerc Prema Racing 0.695s 30
10 Luca Ghiotto RUSSIAN TIME 0.915s 28
11 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1.052s 26
12 Sean Gelael Pertamina Arden 1.099s 32
13 Sergio Sette Camara MP Motorsport 1.217s 26
14 Sergio Canamasas Trident 1.236s 20
15 Jordan King MP Motorsport 1.269s 22
16 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing 1.409s 27
17 Nyck de Vries Rapax 1.414s 34
18 Antonio Fuoco Prema Racing 1.610s 22
19 Roberto Merhi Campos Racing 2.636s 17
20 Nabil Jeffri Trident 3.052s 22


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