Last August, Valentino Rossi told a packed press conference at Indianapolis that he needed to rediscover if he still had the magic to earn podium positions in 2013 when he returned to Yamaha.
Fast-forward five months and just one test on the 2013 Yamaha M1, and Rossi's tune has changed.
"I'd like to have plenty of podium finishes, at least 10, and to finish in the top three in the championship," said Rossi about his 2013 goals to Italian media. "If I didn't win but was on the podium every Sunday, it might be OK. But a victory would be the watershed. The objective is to win, which I've not done since 2010."
While Rossi's objectives have increased for 2013, he also knows his teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, and Repsol Honda rival Dani Pedrosa remain the main men in the premier class, at least at the start of the season.
"Even if I'm not competitive with Lorenzo and Pedrosa, I need to try to be not far behind them," Rossi said. "And it's still to be seen how (Marc) Marquez will do.
"It will take time to beat Lorenzo; he'll be quicker at the start. His strong point is that he knows the Yamaha well and is better at riding it. I'll have to settle in bit by bit. The M1 is competitive, though. When I tried the bike at the end of last season, I found it to be good. Its acceleration has improved a lot."
Since we are already well and good into the realm of pre-season hysteria, what follows is a suggestion that borders on the insane: but what if--and this is perhaps the biggest what if currently in MotoGP--a Ducati finishes in front of Rossi in one of his first races back as a Yamaha rider?