Nicolas Terol was straight on the pace at the Circuit de Catalunya as practice got underway for this weekend's 125cc Grand Prix at Barcelona.
Terol didn't have the dominant advantage he enjoyed at other circuits although he did top the timesheets for much of the session, eventually setting a time of 1:53.001.
With four races gone, the Spaniard leads the championship by 36 points from Sandro Cortese, and the German was his closest challenger on Friday morning, albeit 0.467s adrift.
Efren Vazquez was also within striking distance of Terol and briefly held second before Cortese moved up on his final lap, the Avant–AirAsia–Ajo man was just over half a second off the pace.
Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing rider Maverick Vinales is arguably the man to watch after his impressive victory at Le Mans. After Terol had set the quickest time on his first run, the 16-year-old put in a series of laps to usurp the championship leader.
As the session neared its end though, he fell back to sixth and it was his teammate Sergio Gadea who found time to move up to fourth with a 1:53.973. Adrian Martin was the second of the Aspar Aprilias, just ahead of Vinales while Hector Faubel was seventh after a minor fall, a worrying 1.703s behind his teammate.
Alberto Moncayo was eighth, just ahead of Johann Zarco while Danny Kent had an excellent morning to finish in the top ten. The Briton was as high as fourth at the halfway stage but will still be delighted to be just 1.767s off the pace, and ahead of his teammate Jonas Folger.
Harry Stafford also had a positive morning to finish 19th while British wildcard John McPhee didn't look out of place in his first World Championship practice session ending in 27th, 0.007s ahead of Taylor Mackenzie in 28th.
As in France, Danny Webb had a difficult start to the weekend after only completing four laps. The Kent rider was down 33rd but will be encouraged by the pace of his Mahindra teammate Marcel Schrotter who was up in 15th.