Nico Rosberg set fastest lap-time ahead of reigning world champion and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Nearest title rival Ferrari two seconds slower than Mercedes, Stoffel Vandoorne substituting for the injured Fernando Alonso, nine tenths down on Jenson Button.
Rosberg, who has won the past four Formula One races dating back to last season, set a time of 1 minute, 32.294 seconds at the Sakhir circuit, half a second faster than Hamilton and 1.8 seconds faster than third-place Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari.
Red Bull duo Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat set fourth and fifth fastest, respectively, ahead of Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg.
Toro Rosso drivers Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen were seventh and eighth, followed by Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean and Williams driver Felipe Massa.
Fernando Alonso has been forced to sit out following his huge crash in Australia and his McLaren substitute, Stoffel Vandoorne, made 18th-fastest time, four seconds behind top man Rosberg benchmark.
US based squad Haas F1 team will be more encouraged following successive points finish in their maiden F1 grand prix at Australia, Romain Grosjean ended FP1 ninth fastest whilst Esteban Gutierrez was thirteenth.