Marc Marquez was satisfied with his opening day performance at the Japanese MotoGP, which saw the world champion ride for the first time since hand surgery.
The Repsol Honda star needed a plate inserted after fracturing the fifth metacarpal of his left hand in a mountain bike accident.
The Spaniard was seventh in both of Friday's sessions, setting a best lap time 0.761s behind Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo and saving a leg-off slide in the process.
“The first practice was useful for us to see how my finger felt, and to correctly adapt my riding position and it went pretty well,” said Marquez.
“At least I was able to ride correctly and brake late, which is the important thing. Obviously it hurts, but it is bearable.”
The Spaniard is using a modified handlebar grip, which he described as a “a big help. The grip is a little bit bigger, because I cannot close my fist completely. It helps a lot on the brake point.
“Today I didn't push at 100% because if you stress a lot tomorrow will be worse. So we will see. Now it is a little bigger than in the morning, but I hope after some work with the physio this evening it will feel better.
“As for the set-up, we have made improvements but we still have room to do better - above all with the electronics, which we need to adjust to this circuit. We will see tomorrow if we can take another step forward and get among the top five.
“It looks like with the extra soft rear tyre the Suzuki and Ducati will be very fast, but at the moment Lorenzo is the person to beat."
Already 79 points from the title lead, Marquez will officially drop out of championship contention unless he stays within 75 points on Sunday.
"We must except it. We tried and did our best," said Marquez. "We tried our 100% but this year there were two riders that were better than us, both Yamaha riders were one step in front of us.
"Of course we did some mistakes that we will try to avoid in the future, but there are still four races to try to finish the year in a good way."
And would he like Rossi or Lorenzo to take his title?
"It is difficult to say! Like you know I am Valentino's fan and he did an amazing season and is the most constant at the moment. But on the other side Lorenzo is the fastest. It will be interesting to see if consistency or speed wins this championship."
Team-mate Dani Pedrosa was second quickest on Friday.