Sam Bird set the fastest time of two practice sessions held at Imola this morning ahead of the final round of the 2011 GP2 Asia Series.

Giedo van der Garde was fastest in the first of the two thirty minute sessions. The early pace was set by points leader Jules Bianchi for ART, but Ocean rookie Andrea Caldarelli went quickest. Addax driver van der Garde first took P2 from Bianchi before stealing top spot from Caldarelli. Carlin driver Mihhail Aleshin moved up to second at the end of the session, with Fabio Leimer third for Rapax.

Two incidents interrupted the first session, with Marcus Ericsson's iSport car stopping at Turn 5 during the first half of the session, while Romain Grosjean (DAMS) stopped at Turn 6 later on. Both would miss the second session, along with the returning Luca Filippi who had mechanical problems with his Coloni machine.

Bird, who had propped up the standings in the first session, was more on the pace in the second, moving into P1 ten minutes into the session. He improved his time to stay on top at the end of the session, with van der Garde second and Leimer third once again.

First session times:

  Driver Team Laptime Gap Laps
1. Giedo van der Garde Barwa Addax Team 1:29.095   11
2. Mikhail Aleshin Carlin 1:29.379 +0.284 13
3. Fabio Leimer Rapax 1:29.443 +0.348 13
4. Jolyon Palmer Arden International 1:29.486 +0.391 14
5. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus ART 1:29.487 +0.392 12
6. Andrea Caldarelli Ocean Racing Technology 1:29.600 +0.505 11
7. Davide Valsecchi Team AirAsia 1:29.604 +0.645 11
8. Stefano Coletti Trident Racing 1:29.740 +0.689 9
9. Julian Leal Rapax 1:29.784 +0.806 13
10. Michael Herck Scuderia Coloni 1:29.901 +0.859 13
11. Dani Clos Racing Engineering 1:29.954 +0.893 11
12. Luca Filippi Scuderia Coloni 1:19.988 +0.893 12
13. Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident Racing 1:30.010 +0.915 15
14. Jules Bianchi Lotus ART 1:30.106 +1.011 13
15. Josef Kral Arden International 1:30.191 +1.096 7
16. Max Chilton Carlin 1:30.216 +1.121 11
17. Pal Varhaug Dams 1:30.225 +1.130 10
18. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova Racing 1:30.311 +1.216 15
19. Nathanael Berthon Racing Engineering 1:30.479 +1.384 13
20. Oliver Turvey Ocean Racing Technology 1:30.507 +1.412 12
21. Johnny Cecotto Super Nova Racing 1:30.880 +1.785 11
22. Luiz Razia Team AirAsia 1:32.373 +3.278 11
23. Charles Pic Barwa Addax Team 1:32.475 +3.380 11
24. Marcus Ericsson iSport International 1:32.787 +3.692 4
25. Romain Grosjean Dams 1:32.859 +3.764 8
26. Sam Bird iSport International 1:33.041 +3.946 12

 Second session times:

  Driver Team Laptime Gap Laps
1. Sam Bird iSport International 1:28.312   11
2. Giedo van der Garde Barwa Addax Team 1:28.515 +0.203 12
3. Fabio Leimer Rapax 1:28.566 +0.254 12
4. Stefano Coletti Trident Racing 1:28.584 +0.272 11
5. Dani Clos Racing Engineering 1:28.585 +0.273 12
6. Davide Valsecchi Team AirAsia 1:28.646 +0.334 11
7. Max Chilton Carlin 1:28.694 +0.382 11
8. Michael Herck Scuderia Coloni 1:28.762 +0.450 14
9. Pal Varhaug Dams 1:28.894 +0.582 11
10. Nathanael Berthon Racing Engineering 1:28.901 +0.589 13
11. Johnny Cecotto Super Nova Racing 1:28.931 +0.619 13
12. Charles Pic Barwa Addax Team 1:28.961 +0.649 13
13. Josef Kral Arden International 1:29.084 +0.772 12
14. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova Racing 1:29.292 +0.980 14
15. Mikhail Aleshin Carlin 1:29.293 +0.981 12
16. Luiz Razia Team AirAsia 1:29.341 +1.029 9
17. Jolyon Palmer Arden International 1:29.410 +1.098 11
18. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus ART 1:29.437 +1.125 18
19. Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident Racing 1:29.672 +1.360 10
20. Jules Bianchi Lotus ART 1:29.762 +1.450 18
21. Andrea Caldarelli Ocean Racing Technology 1:29.885 +1.573 15
22. Oliver Turvey Ocean Racing Technology 1:29.927 +1.615 14
23. Julian Leal Rapax 1:30.422 +2.110 14