Takuma Sato topped the timesheets in the final practice of the Verizon IndyCar Series opener in St. Petersburg as poleman Will Power sat out the session.
Power, who demolished the track record on his way to pole position on Saturday, continued to suffer from nausea overnight, with the team opting to give his #12 Penske-Chevrolet entry to Oriol Servia for the session.
The decision on whether the Aussie will take the start in search of his third St. Pete victory is still to be made. His warm-up replacement Servia placed ninth, just 0.022s off the pace.
The early pace in final practice was set by the Penske-Chevrolet's Helio Castroneves with a high 1m02s, with the red flag coming out shortly after for Rahal Letterman Lanigan newcomer Spencer Pigot.
Pigot came to a halt at Turn 9 and stalled his #16 car, forcing a stoppage in track action for several minutes while his car was being re-fired.
When the action was back underway, Josef Newgarden took over out front – but times began to go down significantly in the second half of the run and, with 10 minutes to go, it was Andretti-Honda driver Marco Andretti who led with a 1m01.662s.
In the closing stages, Takuma Sato and Newgarden both surpassed Andretti - and while Graham Rahal entered the top spot with five minutes to go, Sato was back into the lead shortly thereafter with a lap just 0.0001s better.
And Sato's 1m01.236s would remain as the benchmark when the red flag came out with a minute to go for Juan Pablo Montoya stuffing it into the tyre barrier, ending the session.
Rahal placed second, with Newgarden, Andretti and reigning champion Scott Dixon making up the top five.
Simon Pagenaud, who will start the race form the front row, took sixth, with Mikhail Aleshin in seventh despite two trips down the escape road.
|1||14||Takuma Sato||Foyt (H)||1:01.2361|
|2||15||Graham Rahal||Rahal (H)||1:01.2362|
|3||21||Josef Newgarden||Carpenter (C)||1:01.5723|
|4||27||Marco Andretti||Andretti (H)||1:01.6619|
|5||9||Scott Dixon||Ganassi (C)||1:01.7303|
|6||22||Simon Pagenaud||Penske (C)||1:01.7449|
|7||7||Mikhail Aleshin||Schmidt (H)||1:01.9348|
|8||11||Sebastien Bourdais||KVSH (C)||1:01.9545|
|9||12||Oriol Servia||Penske (C)||1:01.9769|
|10||5||James Hinchcliffe||Schmidt (H)||1:02.0060|
|11||3||Helio Castroneves||Penske (C)||1:02.0226|
|12||10||Tony Kanaan||Ganassi (C)||1:02.1714|
|13||2||Juan Pablo Montoya||Penske (C)||1:02.1894|
|14||83||Charlie Kimball||Ganassi (C)||1:02.2448|
|15||19||Luca Filippi||Coyne (H)||1:02.3099|
|16||98||Alexander Rossi||Andretti/Herta (H)||1:02.3100|
|17||18||Conor Daly||Coyne (H)||1:02.3578|
|18||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti (H)||1:02.3932|
|19||16||Spencer Pigot||Rahal (H)||1:02.4013|
|20||8||Max Chilton||Ganassi (C)||1:02.6161|
|21||41||Jack Hawksworth||Foyt (H)||1:02.7098|
|22||26||Carlos Munoz||Andretti (H)||1:02.7982|
(C) = Chevrolet, (H) = Honda