Ryan Hunter-Reay began his IndyCar title defense by going fastest in the opening practice session for this weekend's season opener at St. Petersburg.
Hunter-Reay moved to the top of the charts midway through the session with a best lap of 1m02.4534s, bettering the benchmark 1m02.6041s that had earlier been set by Will Power. James Hinchliffe also beat Power's time to make it an Andretti Autosport one-two with a lap 0.001sec off Hunter-Reay's time.
Power also improved upon his earlier lap, with his best effort of 1m02.5464s leaving him in third place just ahead of EJ Viso, thus denying the Andretti team a sweep of the top three positions.
KV Racing had an encouraging start to the weekend with Tony Kanaan and Simona de Silvestro finishing the morning fifth and seventh-fastest respectively, the pair book-ending Dario Franchitti, who posted the quickest time by a Honda-powered driver. Josef Newgarden, Sebastien Bourdais and Marco Andretti rounded out the top 10.
Tristan Vautier's first session as an IndyCar driver ended with the Frenchman posting the 13th-fastest lap, putting him just ahead of Scott Dixon, who endured an early spin and then struggled with what he described as "issues with a lot of different things."