Alonso's fastest time on Monday was deleted at the end of the session as he skipped the final chicane in order to get ahead of another vehicle, demoting him from fifth originally to seventh.
Racing director Eric Boullier, who was boss at the Renault-engined Lotus team in 2010-13, also described early progress as "so far, so good". "It's an evolution of last year's engine that won races".
"When asked for his thoughts about his off, Alonso said: "[I thought] that it was a good day for you guys [the media]!
"It was a very, very small problem but very graphic and very obvious because a auto in the gravel is a big thing".
"So far, so good", he said. "So I thought about all of you!"
"A vehicle in the gravel makes a big thing", he laughed, "but there is six teams in the garage with the door closed, with the auto in pieces, but there is no picture of that". "Obviously very early days, but the vehicle and engine was running fine".
"There are a lot of teams in trouble - and big trouble - and for us with a wheelnut it will make the big thing of the day".
The test was the first since the introduction of the now mandatory "halo" head protection system and drivers reported no problems with visibility.
Valtteri Bottas was second for champions Mercedes, and completed 58 laps with a best time two tenths off Ricciardo's, while Renault's Nico Hulkenberg did the most distance with 73 laps.
The Briton did 25 laps in soggy conditions. "It's hard to judge because it is very cold and everybody just collects data and sees how they get on".
Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest for Ferrari, runners-up a year ago, with Renault's Nico Hulkenberg fourth.
Indeed, the Spaniard endured a torrid start to preparations for the new Formula One season, which begins with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne next month.