“Usually in the second half of last year Lorenzo and Pedrosa were in front. So to be fourth and not so far from them is positive.
“Tomorrow will be important because we will have some more soft tyres to try, so if the conditions are good it could be funny!”
In terms of technical improvements, Rossi highlighted acceleration as the area where the most gains can be made.
“It looks like Honda is able to put more horsepower on the ground. Not because they have more horsepower, but because they can use more of it - they have more mechanical grip,” he explained.
Rossi confirmed that he wants a seamless shift gearbox and is “pushing” Yamaha to get it, but “we don't know if it will arrive or not”.
Rossi used a seamless shift gearbox at Ducati, but said the Ducati 'box “is not the same as the Honda. It is between the Yamaha and the Honda.”
Meawhile, it is not just Rossi who is happy to be back at Yamaha - where he won four of his seven MotoGP titles - his crew chief Jeremy Burgess and group of mechanics are also enjoying the 'atmosphere'...
“Jeremy is very happy,” said Rossi. “Also the guys in the garage have great motivation - they can finish at 6pm, they can drink beer, they have time! This is very important for the atmosphere.
“Last year at 6pm the bike was all open in the garage - they were not very happy!”
The first Sepang test concludes on Thursday evening.