Valentino Rossi dropped from first to fifth during day two of this week's Sepang MotoGP test.

The Italian admitted he wasn't in good shape during the morning, when cooler temperatures allow for the fastest lap times, but felt he was close to team-mate Jorge Lorenzo by the afternoon.

Honda's world champion Marquez and Lorenzo were the only two riders to break the two-minute barrier on Tuesday, with the Doctor 0.464s adrift on the final timesheets.

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"This morning I wasn't in very good shape. I suffer a little bit, but we worked ok all day," Rossi began. "Marquez and Lorenzo were faster than me this morning, also about the pace, but this afternoon more or less I was fast like Jorge. So it is not so bad. Also because we find something good.

"We continued to work with the gearbox and tried to understand the way to have a bit more traction in acceleration. The feeling is quite good so we try to be ready for tomorrow, because tomorrow will be the important day.

"Everybody will for sure try to give the maximum in the time attack but more important will be the race simulation. More or less everybody will try long runs to understand the pace. So tomorrow we can understand in a better way our level."

Rossi confirmed that he spent the whole day with Yamaha's new gearbox, which features seamless downshifts as well as upshifts.

"The bike is a bit more easy to stop," he said of the smoother, faster downshifts. "It is more easy to ride and for entry in the corners. It means you can push more. It needs a bit less effort and it's also more easy, which means less mistakes. So for the race it is important."

Is it what you need against the Hondas?

"For me it is not enough! But it is a bit better."

Rossi finished title runner-up to Marquez last season, which was his best since winning a seventh premier-class title in 2009.

"A season like last year is a big help because I know I can stay at the level and fight for victory," he declared. "I think this year for sure Jorge but also Dani will be stronger. So to try to beat them I have to be stronger, but at the same time we have to hope that Marquez for some reason can be a bit less strong!"

Wednesday is the final day of official Sepang testing, with Thursday dedicated to Michelin tyre development for 2016.