Preseason testing started with power for Yamaha Factory Racing, as Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi finished second and third, respectively, on the time sheets last week at Sepang testing.
Lorenzo produced a race simulation of lap-record pace, and Rossi proved he still remembers the secrets of speed clouded in the fog of two lost seasons at Ducati.
One small problem remains for the Crossed Tuning Forks: Dani Pedrosa of Repsol Honda ended up atop the time sheets, three-tenths of a second quicker than Lorenzo.
Still, Lorenzo and Rossi think the introduction of a seamless-shift gearbox for their M1 could close the gap. The seamless system - already used by rivals Honda and Ducati - isn't ready for testing despite reports before the test it might be installed on the factory bikes for Sepang.
The seamless system is supposed to shave only a tenth of a second per lap. But it provides better stability under acceleration, which has the potential to slice bigger chunks of time each lap.
Both Yamaha factory bikes suffered from a rear pumping issue under acceleration during testing this week.
"The important area is acceleration because it looks like the M1 is very good until the acceleration part, where it's good but looks like if we try to use more power, the bike pumps, wheelies and goes a bit in crisis," Rossi said to English media. "I never follow the Honda with the Yamaha. But last year when I followed the Honda with the Ducati and the Yamaha, the difference in acceleration was quite big. It looks that Honda is able to put more horsepower on the ground, but not because they have more horsepower but because they can use some horsepower more than us. It is better mechanical grip.
"A seamless shift gearbox could make the difference but for me, more than the first part of throttle opening. It is the second part of the acceleration, when you go full throttle, that the pumping comes."
It's uncertain when - or if - Yamaha will introduce a seamless-shift system.
"I am pushing on Yamaha for this gearbox, but I don't know," Rossi said.
Said Lorenzo: "We are working on it, but it seems that the Honda guys don't have to take so many risks in the corners, just pick up the bike and they have something more. But it is opposite on the braking where it seems we are stronger. But finally in lap times, we are quite competitive."