Sepang: Nine-times Grand Prix champion Valentino Rossi ruled the track at Malaysia`s Sepang circuit on Monday, the first day of the second round of pre-season MotoGP winter testing.
The Italian, riding a Yamaha with changes made to the shift gearbox, clocked the fastest timing of the day during his 25th lap at 2 minutes and 0.414 seconds, with Honda`s Dani Pedrosa trailing by 0.129 seconds.
Rossi, who suffered injuries in 2010 and struggled to make a comeback, enjoyed a return to form last year. He is determined to collect more silverware this season.
Pol Espargaro riding the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha bike was third fastest on the time sheets, 0.462 seconds behind Rossi.
The Spaniard`s elder brother Aleix Espargaro, on a Suzuki, was fourth fastest at 2 minutes and 1.055 seconds.
World champion Marc Marquez, who set a new unofficial track record in early February during round one of testing in Sepang, could only manage to come in sixth fastest on Monday.
The Spaniard, who became the youngest rider ever to take the world title in 2013 and the first rookie to win in 35 years, clocked his best time at 2 minutes and 1.190 seconds.
Riders got to test their machines in both sweltering tropical heat as well as in the wet, following an afternoon downpour.
Testing will continue for another two days.
The new season kicks off in Qatar on March 29 and Malaysia will host the penultimate leg of the championship on October 25.