Ghiotto, who won the sprint race last time out in Bahrain, was over two-tenths ahead of the Japanese driver, who set his fastest lap at the end of the session like most of his competitors.
As it was the first on-track action of the weekend at the circuit, the very dusty surface provided a challenge for the drivers.
Yellow flags were out in abundance during the session, as many drivers took to the run-off area at Turn 1 after locking their tyres and going straight on at the heavy braking zone.
Some also had trouble at Turn 2, with Mahaveer Raghunathan struggling to turn his car back onto the circuit after running too deep.
Qualifying for Saturday's feature race takes place at 15:00 local time, in between the opening two practice sessions for Formula 1.
|3.||Jordan King||MP Motorsport||1:57.023||+0.386|
|4.||Nyck de Vries||ART Grand Prix||1:57.441||+0.804|
|6.||Mick Schumacher||Prema Racing||1:57.576||+0.939|
|7.||Callum Ilott||Sauber Junior Team by Charouz||1:57.887||+1.250|
|8.||Sergio Sette Camara||DAMS||1:58.029||+1.392|
|9.||Juan Manuel Correa||Sauber Junior Team by Charouz||1:58.273||+1.636|
|10.||Sean Gelael||Prema Racing||1:58.377||+1.740|
|11.||Jack Aitken||Campos Racing||1:58.647||+2.010|
|14.||Nikita Mazepin||ART Grand Prix||1:59.699||+3.062|
|16.||Anthoine Hubert||BWT Arden||1:59.801||+3.164|
|18.||Tatiana Calderon||BWT Arden||2:01.994||+5.357|
|19.||Dorian Boccolacci||Campos Racing||2:02.474||+5.837|
|20.||Mahaveer Raghunathan||MP Motorsport||2:09.848||+13.211|
Circuit de Catalunya - Winter testing
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing
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