Marcus Ericsson - Photo Credit: Daniel Kalisz/GP2 Media Service

Marcus Ericsson – Photo Credit: Daniel Kalisz/GP2 Media Service

Marcus Ericsson set himself up for a good weekend in Valencia by setting the pace in the GP2 free practice session in Valencia.

The Swedish iSport International driver returned to form with a second-place finish in Monaco last time out, after a difficult start to a season in which he had been expected to fight for the title. His only victory to date in GP2 came in the sprint race at Valencia in 2010.

The practice session was interrupted halfway through when Caterham Racing driver Rodolfo Gonzalez spun at the turn 13 chicane, ending up in the wall on the outside and bringing out the red flags.

Championship leader Davide Valsecchi was ahead at that stage, but Ericsson moved ahead with just over a minute ahead to finish 0.163 seconds clear.

Giedo van der Garde finished in a close third place for Caterham. The Dutchman has scored more points than anyone else in the past two rounds and is third in the points.

He was just two thousandths of a second ahead of Ericsson's iSport teammate Jolyon Palmer, fresh from his maiden GP2 victory in Monaco.

Fellow Monaco victory Johnny Cecotto was fifth for local team Barwa Addax, ahead of Max Chilton. Fabio Leimer took seventh, ahead of James Calado, a race winner in Valencia in GP3 last year, and Felipe Nasr.

Stefano Coletti rounded out the top ten, just ahead of fellow Monegasque driver Stephane Richelmi.

Josef Kral was 12th for Addax ahead of title contender Luiz Razia. Rio Haryanto was 14th ahead of Simon Trummer and Fabrizio Crestani.

Tom Dillmann was 17th, having been dropped from his seat at Rapax and then brought back to replace the ill Ricardo Teixeira in the sister car. Esteban Gutierrez, winner of the sprint race last year, was a lowly 18th after getting baulked on his final run.

Fabio Onidi, Nathanael Berthon, Julian Leal and Nigel Melker were next, ahead of Victor Guerin and debutant Daniel De Jong. Giancarlo Serenelli was 25th with fellow Venezuelan Gonzalez last.

Qualifying takes place at 15:00 BST.