Valentino Rossi believes he needs to find "two or three tenths" to be able to battle for victory on the 2020 Yamaha following day one of the Qatar MotoGP test.
The latest version of the YZR-M1 has proven to be a strong package, with Petronas SRT's Fabio Quartararo topping the Sepang test outright on it, while factory rider Maverick Vinales completed some impressive long runs on the bike this pre-season.
After introducing various updates - including its version of the holeshot device - on the 2020 prototype it tested in November at Sepang, Yamaha has not brought anything new to the final test in Qatar and is instead focusing on fine-tuning what it has.
Rossi completed 51 laps on Saturday at Losail and ended the session seventh, 0.414 seconds off the pacesetting Suzukis with a time only two tenths shy of his best effort from last year's Qatar test.
"It was a positive day because we confirm what we saw in Sepang, and at the end I finish P7 but all day I was quite constant and with a good pace," said Rossi.
"So, we are very happy because it looks like the bike is improving from last year and also from the first test.
"We work well in the pitbox and we are able to improve.
"To fight for victory I need a little bit - two or three tenths - on the hot laps, but also on pace.
"We have some riders like Maverick, my team-mate, who are a little bit faster than us.
"So we have to work, but it's just the first day and we are already faster compared to last year and we have a positive feeling with the bike."
Elaborating on where he needs the bike to be improved, Rossi highlighted braking as one point which needs work.
Yamaha has also taken a step forward with its engine this year, though Rossi's best speed of 212mph was more than 6mph down on the Pramac Ducati GP20 of Jack Miller.
"It looks like that we've improved [the top speed] but the gap remains quite big," he said, when asked if Yamaha's gains will be enough to help it fight Ducatis and Hondas.
"We need to understand if we can keep in the slipstream, because last year for us it was impossible to keep the slipstream.
"This is difficult when you have to fight.
"If the gap is a bit less and we are able to keep the slipstream, also for the races this is a lot different because you can attack, you can make your race."