James Toseland started his final race for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad by clocking the 13th best time in opening practice at Valencia.
And much to the relief of the 28-year-old, his best lap of 1.34.865 just edged out new World Superbike Ben Spies.
Toseland beat the Texan, making his Yamaha YZR-M1 debut, by just 0.187s in an opening practice session run in cloudy and windy conditions.
Spies will replace Toseland in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in 2010 and many billed this weekends clash as an intriguing clash between the outgoing British rider and the incoming American.
But a best time of 1.35.052 left Spies down in 15th place as he beat Chris Vermeulen, Gabor Talmacsi and Aleix Espargaro.
Double World Superbike champion Toseland, who recently tested Spies' championship-winning R1 in Portimao, said:
"I needed some time to adapt myself back to the bike having done over 200 laps on the R1 in Portimao last week and I felt quite strong in the early part of the session.
"But when I wanted to start picking up the pace and going for some decent lap times I had a problem with the front tyre. There was a bit of a vibration issue and with the changes I lost time.
"The wind made it quite tricky too today. In some faster sections of the track it was blowing me slightly off line. We gained some good information though and with ideas that we have to improve for tomorrow I'm convinced I can make progress up the timesheets."