Honda sits on top of the time charts at Macau.
After Norbert Michelisz’s fastest lap in the early morning testing, the Castrol Honda Team vechicles of Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro posted the best times in the first free practice session.
Pepe Oriola had a brielf spell on top at the beginning, when his Chevrolet Cruze stopped the clock at 2:29.578. A few moments later the session was disrupted by the red flag, when Hugo Valente’s Chevrolet crashed at Paiol bend.
When action resumed, Monteiro improved the mark to 2:29.411; the Portuguese was temporarily demoted to second by Michelisz’s 2.28.339, but recovered the first position with a new fastest lap of 2:28.209.
With less than ten minutes left, the new World Champion José María López made his first appearance on top so far, completing a lap of 2:27.874.
However, the Honda drivers had still some aces up their sleeves: Tarquini posted the fastest lap for good at 2:27.216, while Monteiro recovered to second with a lap of 2:27.823. López saved the third position ahead of Michelisz (2:27.889); Oriola remained the quickest of the Chevrolet drivers, in fifth position (2:28.509), followed by Sébastien Loeb (2:28.563) and Rob Huff’s LADA (2:28.609. Mehdi Bennani, Yvan Muller and Ma Qing Hua rounded off the top-ten, while Franz Egstler topped the TC2T class, nearly four seconds ahead of Clemente de Souza.
The second free practice will take place tomorrow morning at 9.25, followed by the qualifying session at 15.10.