Alvaro Bautista was able to get the better of Hiroshi Aoyama during Friday free practice for the 250cc Spanish Grand Prix, helped by a slower rider on Aoyama's last lap.
Bautista and Aoyama start round three separated by just one point at the top of the championship standings, after Bautista's victory over the Japanese in Aoyama's home Motegi event last Sunday.
However, it was the Scot Honda rider who was faster for most of the opening Jerez session, with Bautista finally putting his Aspar Aprilia on top with ten minutes to go.
The home star then built a comfortable advantage, but Aoyama was under the Spaniard's best as he approached the end of his final lap - when he found a slower rider in his path at the last turn.
A visibly frustrated Aoyama crossed the finish line just 0.109sec slower than Bautista, with Swiss rider Thomas Luthi a further 0.4sec slower in third for Caffe Latte Aprilia.
Reigning world champion Marco Simoncelli, looking to score his first points of the season this weekend, was eighth fastest for Metis Gilera, almost one second slower than Bautista.
Qualifying takes place on Saturday.
The Jerez circuit has been completely resurfaced since last year's race.
Friday practice - Jerez:
1. Bautista (Aprilia) 1min 43.429sec
2. Aoyama (Honda) +0.109sec
3. Luthi (Aprilia) +0.520sec
4. Pasini (Aprilia) +0.633sec
5. Talmacsi (Aprilia) +0.849sec
6. Abraham (Aprilia) +0.939sec
7. di Meglio (Aprilia) +0.956sec
8. Simoncelli (Gilera) +0.969sec
9. Barbera (Aprilia) +1.037sec
10. Debon (Aprilia) +1.203sec