Fernando Alonso's suggestion that the LMP1 privateers are now ready to start knocking on Toyota's door in the World Endurance Championship caused some consternation after Fuji.
And it would be easy to be outraged if you've only glanced at the results showing the four laps that the Japanese manufacturer's cars had in hand over on the best of the independents on home ground last weekend.
But dig deeper into what happened at Fuji, and Alonso's comments don't seem quite so outrageous.
There are signs that the Equivalence of Technology with which the rulemakers are trying to balance the Toyota TS050 HYBRIDs with the privateers' less-sophisticated LMP1 machinery are at least beginning to bear fruit.
The pre-Fuji EoT changes were an early Christmas present from Toyota to the indies and the WEC. Its agreement to take a double performance hit was a gift for the good of the series.
It conceded that we couldn't afford a repeat of the Toyota domination of the Silverstone 6 Hours in August: the LMP1 class needed to offer a better spectacle.
The 26kg increase in minimum weight for the TS050s was significant, because it was the first time that Toyota had agreed to a measure that would slow its cars out on the racetrack.
Previous equalisation efforts had centred on speeding up the privateers, as well as removing much of the massive advantage the hybrid cars have enjoyed in the length of time they can go between refuelling stops.
The per-kilometre deficits on one-lap pace were 0.33s at Silverstone and 0.21s at Fuji
Toyota has now conceded to wiping that out entirely. The two-lap advantage in stint length enshrined in the original EoT for the six-hour WEC races has now been removed.
These were significant concessions by Toyota, but were they enough to bring the best of the privateers, namely Rebellion and SMP, into the ballpark? Fuji didn't provide the complete answer.
The third-placed Rebellion-Gibson R-13 driven by Andre Lotterer, Neel Jani and Bruno Senna would undoubtedly have been closer had it been under any kind of pressure from another independent entry.
They were able to take it easy over the final portion of the race after the rest of the privateer pack encountered problems of various kinds. And four laps at Fuji is also less of a gap than four laps at Silverstone, a circuit that's the better part of a mile longer.
The privateers were closer to the outright pace in Japan thanks to a weight increase of 20kg for the TS050s - the cars were previously six kilogrammes above the original 878kg minimum.
Toyota reckoned the extra weight was costing it about half a second a lap. The best privateer qualifying time at Fuji, courtesy of Lotterer, was 0.8s down on Alonso's best lap, so that's a 0.18s per kilometre deficit.
At Silverstone the margin between Mike Conway's fastest lap for Toyota in qualifying and Jenson Button's best in his SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1 was 1.5s or 0.26s per kilometre. The indies also edged closer in the race.
The per-kilometre deficits on one-lap pace were 0.33s at Silverstone and 0.21s at Fuji.
But the statistics that have the most meaning from the race are the averages.
Button had the fastest non-hybrid race lap in Japan, but the #11 BRE he shared with Vitaly Petrov and Mikhail Aleshin was also the fastest privateer on the averages over the distance.
The deficit over the six hours was nine tenths, about the same as over one lap. Even more encouraging for anyone hoping to see the privateers make a race of it over the remainder of the 2018/19 WEC superseason was Button's pace after an 11-minute pitstop to replace an alternator belt.
Take the 30 best laps of each car over the last 90 minutes of the race, and Button is only a shade under five tenths on average behind the winning Toyota that Kamui Kobayashi took over for the final stint.
Toyota Motorsport GmbH technical boss Pascal Vasselon was, of course, keen to make much of Button's pace. He pointed out that the 2009 Formula 1 world champion was more or less matching Jose Maria Lopez when they were on track together.
"Not for one or two laps, but a complete stint," said the Toyota man. "He did a full stint in touch with our car."
Vasselon was also keen to draw attention to Button's pace in the wet conditions earlier in the race: "After the safety car, Kamui and Jenson were on the same tyres, and Jenson was as quick as him."
Half a second is still a lot, but there might be hope on the horizon. The privateers were still having to lift off to achieve the per-lap fuel target that has been part of the LMP1 landscape since 2014.
The drivers of the third-placed Rebellion estimated that it was costing them somewhere between three and four tenths per lap.
That's significant because there appears to have been a promise made to the privateers after Le Mans that the dreaded lift and coast would be eradicated for them. That's what the indies are saying, though WEC promoter the Automobile Club de l'Ouest won't confirm it and Toyota isn't commenting.
The drivers of the Rebellions and the BREs weren't blighted by lifting and coasting at Silverstone, but its spectre returned at Fuji.
Rebellion wanted to show what the R-13 was capable of. Or rather what it wasn't capable of
That probably has something to do with the home of Britain's WEC round not having a kilometre-long straight.
The rulemakers apparently had an eye on this at Fuji. They raised the amount of fuel the indies could use per lap on Saturday morning. It was necessary to rectify a miscalculation, said the ACO, and not a mid-event change to the EoT.
It may or may not be a coincidence that the Rebellion team told its drivers not to lift and coast in the Friday free practice sessions - illegally so, but it wasn't penalised or even noted by the stewards - because it wanted to show what the R-13 was capable of. Or rather what it wasn't capable of.
The other bone of contention among the privateers is the time it takes for the fuel to go into the car. Toyota still has an advantage here: it's now meant to be two seconds rather than the five seconds at the start of the season.
Yet the Toyotas were gaining hand over fist in the pits at Fuji. Their stops, measured from pit-in to pit-out, were taking somewhere between 1m02s and 1m04s, the Rebellions 1m13s to 1m14s and the SMP BREs 1m18s to 1m19s.
The actual time it takes for the fuel to go into the car isn't in the public domain, but SMP is at least is claiming that it is substantially over the two-second deficit.
Toyota, on the other hand, is arguing that the laws of physics will dictate the refuelling time and that the diameters of the restrictors in the rigs have been calculated to achieve the magic two seconds.
Vasselon only just stopped short of suggesting that the privateers need to smarten up their act in the pits. Nor did he mention that Toyota has another advantage in the pitlane. The TS050s leave on electric power, so there's no time lost cranking an internal combustion engine and finding the biting point of the clutch.
And no possibility of stalling. Whether or not the privateers need to improve in the pits, they are most definitely improving out on track.
Rebellion might have become the first privateer to win a WEC race in the current era at Silverstone after the exclusion of the Toyotas, but its cars were a real handful back in August.
By its own admission it had taken a big step forward at Fuji. It is easy to forget that the privateers, with the exception of the minnow among minnows in ByKolles, are all racing machinery that came on stream at the beginning of the superseason.
They are on an upward development curve, whereas Toyota is racing a car that is now in its third season. That makes the job of the rulemakers even more difficult.
They are trying to balance factory cars with privateers, hybrids with non-hybrids and a proven design against unproven ones early in their development curves. It is a difficult enough job technically even before you throw politics into the equation.
The promise of lap-time parity made to the privateers on the relaunch of the WEC last September after Porsche's bombshell that it was quitting LMP1 was one the rulemakers couldn't keep.
FIA statutes concerning stability mean you can't just change the rules at the drop of the hat. Unanimous agreement of the participants has been required, and that means Toyota's acquiescence.
The only manufacturer left standing in LMP1 was rightfully conservative to begin with, but it has now agreed to two rounds of EoT changes designed to inch the privateers towards it tail. It should be pointed out that the pre-Fuji changes do not, for the moment at least, apply to the Le Mans 24 Hours next year.
Vasselon is insistent that the WEC now has a workable EoT. "If you isolate pure performance, the potential is there for the privateers," he said straight after the race at Fuji.
"The quickest non-hybrid car here was within tenths of our cars. I would say it was quite a success for the EoT. All the ingredients are there."
That suggests that Toyota is not going to be falling over itself to agree to further EoT changes.
Vasselon said ahead of Fuji that the latest changes "should be the end of the story". Further tweaks are clearly required, but they might just be possible within the confines of existing agreements.
If a promise really has been made about eradicating fuel cuts then it needs to be kept. That, combined with some natural improvement from the privateers, could just edge them close enough to finally put Toyota under pressure.
That's not the case at the moment, no matter what Fernando Alonso thinks.