Sepang GP2: Gasly leads Prema team-mate Giovinazzi in practice

GP2 championship leader Pierre Gasly led Prema team-mate and title rival Antonio Giovinazzi in the practice session for the series' first Sepang event since 2013

Sepang GP2: Gasly leads Prema team-mate Giovinazzi in practice

In an unusual schedule for the Malaysian Grand Prix support races, both GP2 and GP3 held their practice sessions on Thursday, with only qualifying scheduled for Friday.

Red Bull protege and 2017 Toro Rosso Formula 1 seat contender Gasly set a benchmark of 1m42.352s as he learned the circuit.

Giovinazzi, 10 points behind Gasly in the standings, closed what had been a three tenths of a second gap to 0.123s in the closing minutes.

Raffaele Marciello was third for Russian Time, ahead of Racing Engineering team-mates Jordan King and Norman Nato.

None of the handful of drivers with previous Sepang GP2 experience were in the top 10, with Jaguar Formula E bound Mitch Evans - a podium finisher in the last GP2 race in Malaysia - the best of them in 11th.

Home favourite Nabil Jeffri had a quick spin on his way to 18th, and is Arden's only entry this weekend.

His erstwhile team-mate Jimmy Eriksson elected to end his disappointing 2016 campaign ahead of Sepang.

The other change to the line-up for Sepang is return of four-time race winner Johnny Cecotto Jr.

The Venezuelan GP2 veteran, who began the year in Formula V8 3.5, is standing in for an unwell Arthur Pic at Rapax.

Cecotto started his first GP2 weekend since last October's Sochi round at the tail of the field.

PRACTICE RESULTS

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Pierre Gasly Prema Racing 1m42.352s - 12
2 Antonio Giovinazzi Prema Racing 1m42.475s 0.123s 13
3 Raffaele Marciello RUSSIAN TIME 1m42.894s 0.542s 13
4 Jordan King Racing Engineering 1m42.896s 0.544s 13
5 Norman Nato Racing Engineering 1m42.933s 0.581s 13
6 Oliver Rowland MP Motorsport 1m43.130s 0.778s 14
7 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 1m43.135s 0.783s 13
8 Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 1m43.204s 0.852s 13
9 Luca Ghiotto Trident 1m43.212s 0.860s 13
10 Alex Lynn DAMS 1m43.450s 1.098s 13
11 Mitch Evans Pertamina Campos Racing 1m43.578s 1.226s 13
12 Sergey Sirotkin ART Grand Prix 1m43.857s 1.505s 9
13 Sergio Canamasas Carlin 1m43.876s 1.524s 12
14 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1m43.928s 1.576s 14
15 Marvin Kirchhofer Carlin 1m44.161s 1.809s 13
16 Gustav Malja Rapax 1m44.195s 1.843s 14
17 Sean Gelael Pertamina Campos Racing 1m44.215s 1.863s 14
18 Nabil Jeffri Arden International 1m44.232s 1.880s 13
19 Daniel de Jong MP Motorsport 1m44.381s 2.029s 13
20 Philo Paz Armand Trident 1m44.384s 2.032s 13
21 Johnny Cecotto Jr. Rapax 1m44.687s 2.335s 12

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