Sam Bird set a 1:10.402 to top the opening practice session in Diriyah for Jaguar TCS Racing.
His former teammate Jean-Eric Vergne ended in second, just under a tenth away wile Bird’s current teammate Mitch Evans was third, almost three and a half tenths off the Brit.
Reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne completed a checkerboard of Jaguars and DS Penskes in fourth.
Nick Cassidy ended fifth ahead of Dan Ticktum, Jake Hughes, Sebastien Buemi and Lucas Di Grassi, with Mexico winner Jake Dennis completing the top ten.
Further down the field, Sergio Sette Camara could only manage 13th after being held up on multiple laps at the end of the session, Rene Rast managed 15th after some earlier contact with Vandoorne which disintegrated his front wing, and rookie Kelvin van de Linde propped up the table, 1.8 seconds off Bird.