Reigning MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo finished the first MotoGP test of 2011 in third place, behind the Hondas of Marco Simoncelli and Casey Stoner.
Although the Factory Yamaha rider was only 0.088sec from surprise Sepang leader Simoncelli, and is certain that the 2011 M1 remains a winning package, he feels it has lost ground relative to Honda.
And for Lorenzo, defending the MotoGP title isn't his only goal - he's approaching the new season with the aim of repeating his nine race wins.
“I feel good about my riding and the bike has improved quite a bit, but we still need to improve the same things as last year, which is the traction on the rear and the engine,” said Lorenzo.
“Engine top speed is good, but we need more acceleration in second and third gears.
“Everybody wants a better bike. That is normal,” he confessed. “At the moment we have a winning bike, but I would like to win the same number of races as last year and for sure that is difficult at this moment.
“The problem is that maybe Honda has solved their problems, so now they are really fast in braking, high-speed corners and acceleration. They can take profit from their engine.
“We have improved all things a little bit, but I think we need more to repeat the results of last year. The competition is really hard now.”
Whilst warning that the RCV represents a greater threat, Lorenzo also gave credit to Simoncelli.
“Simoncelli has improved,” he said of the San Carlo Honda Gresini rider. “The Honda is clearly better than last year, but then he is faster than Dani and Casey so he must be riding very, very well.”
Lorenzo and team-mate Ben Spies both picked the same engine specification for future development, of the two 2011 options available for them to try at Sepang. Lorenzo also tried two different chassis options, while Spies stuck with one.