Tiago Monteiro set the pace in the new Honda in Thursday's World Touring Car Championship test in Macau.
The former grand prix driver's time of 2m33.908s was 0.620 seconds faster than Yokohama Independent title challenger Stefano D'Aste.
Monteiro's achievement is the first time the Honda Civic WTCC has topped a test or practice session since its race debut at Suzuka in October.
Several drivers were denied an opportunity of improving their times when Hong Kong racer Darryl O'Young lost control on the exit of the fast Mandarin corner, causing the session to be red-flagged three minutes prematurely.
The Bamboo driver sustained considerable front, and light rear, damage to his Chevrolet Cruze in the incident.
Championship leader Rob Huff was the fastest of RML Chevrolet's three title contenders in third. The Briton led the half hour session from shortly before the midway mark until being usurped by Monteiro two minutes before O'Young's crash.
Huff's closest rival in the standings Alain Menu was seventh, while title outsider Yvan Muller ended the afternoon in 23rd.
Having set the initial pace, Proteam's Mehdi Bennani took a solid fourth fastest ahead of Gabriele Tarquini's Lukoil SEAT.
Independents points leader and former Macau reversed-grid winner Norbert Michelisz finished eighth, two places behind his title rival Pepe Oriola.
ROAL Motorsport's WTCC debutant Kei Cozzolino was lucky to escape a heavy accident when he spun at high-speed spin exiting the Mandarin kink. The Italian restarted to finish 21st fastest, five places behind Macau specialist and fellow 2012 WTCC newcomer Andre Couto.
Veteran Franz Engstler lightly glanced the tyre barriers when he pirouetted his BMW on the entry to R bend, but the German's progress was only momentarily delayed.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Tiago Monteiro Honda 2m33.908s 2. Stefano d'Aste Wiechers BMW 2m34.528s + 0.620s 3. Rob Huff Chevrolet 2m34.789s + 0.881s 4. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 2m35.041s + 1.133s 5. Gabriele Tarquini Lukoil SEAT 2m35.338s + 1.430s 6. Pepe Oriola Tuenti SEAT 2m35.424s + 1.516s 7. Alain Menu Chevrolet 2m35.573s + 1.665s 8. Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW 2m35.886s + 1.978s 9. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 2m36.043s + 2.135s 10. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 2m36.128s + 2.220s 11. Darryl O'Young Bamboo Chevrolet 2m36.541s + 2.633s 12. Fredy Barth SUNRED SEAT 2m36.831s + 2.923s 13. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT 2m37.807s + 3.899s 14. Charles Ng Engstler BMW 2m38.871s + 4.963s 15. Alex MacDowall Bamboo Chevrolet 2m39.449s + 5.541s 16. Andre Couto Tuenti SEAT 2m39.460s + 5.552s 17. Tom Chilton Arena Ford 2m40.370s + 6.462s 18. Aleksei Dudukalo Lukoil SEAT 2m40.800s + 6.892s 19. Fernando Monje Tuenti SEAT 2m41.134s + 7.226s 20. James Nash Arena Ford 2m41.270s + 7.362s 21. Kei Cozzolino ROAL BMW 2m42.631s + 8.723s 22. Filipe de Souza China Dragon Chevrolet 2m43.723s + 9.815s 23. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 2m43.907s + 9.999s 24. Kin Veng Ng China Dragon Chevrolet 2m44.003s + 10.095s 25. Jo Rosa Merzsei Engstler BMW 2m46.127s + 12.219s 26. Eurico de Jesus Five Auto Honda 2m47.386s + 13.478s 27. Celio Alves Dias China Dragon Chevrolet 2m47.756s + 13.848s 28. Ka Lok Mak RPM BMW 2m51.731s + 17.823s 29. Henry Ho Five Auto BMW