Jorge Lorenzo expects Yamaha to build on a positive start after first MotoGP practice in Qatar.
Lorenzo finished the session in second place, 0.174 seconds behind Casey Stoner's Honda.
His Yamaha team-mate Ben Spies initially took the fight to Stoner, but a last gasp flying lap took Lorenzo close to toppling the Honda rider.
"We are very far from the lap times of last year but that's the same for everybody," said Lorenzo. "I feel good, we are in the top close to Casey and we have improvements to come tomorrow from the bike, the track and myself. At the end we made a small change to gain some rear grip on all the corners which helped drop the lap time."
Team manager Wilco Zeelenberg agreed with Lorenzo's assessment.
"It seems to be that what we've learnt and solved over the winter time is working here," Zeelenberg said. "Jorge is riding very well, calm and relaxed and focused so I believe we can make some more steps forward when the track is a little cleaner and get faster. Let's see what tomorrow brings."