Jorge Lorenzo overcome pain from his healing fractured hand, and rear grip issues, to finish just one-second from victory in Sunday's Qatar Grand Prix season opener.
Starting third on the grid, the Fiat Yamaha rider dropped back to sixth in the early stages and was forced to wait for the fuel load to drop before he could push.
After Casey Stoner crashed from the lead on lap six, 2009 title runner-up Lorenzo overtook Dani Pedrosa, Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso to claim second place with two laps to go.
Lorenzo also set a best race lap slightly quicker than team-mate and reigning seven time MotoGP champion Rossi, whom he trailed by just 1.022sec at the chequered flag.
"I had to disconnect my brain and just ride with my heart, and I am so happy about this second place,” said Lorenzo. “My hand was a bit sore but the bigger problem was the rear sliding, and early on with a full fuel tank I found it quite hard.
“My plan was to take it quietly and not risk too much, but after a while the adrenalin built up and I couldn't do that, I had to ride at the maximum! Once I had less fuel it was easier and I started to get closer, but I was on the limit physically and with the bike, so it was quite risky!
“I made some good overtakes at the end and this is a fantastic result for our team, with Valentino winning as well. Now we go to Motegi, where I won last year, and I will be in better physical condition by then and ready to be even stronger,” he warned.
"This is a very good start to the season and Jorge rode a very clever race,” stated new team manager Wilco Zeelenberg. “He kept his patience when the bike was heavy, realised it wasn't the right time to push and little-by-little he was able to improve his pace and close the gap.
“To finish just one second behind Valentino after his interrupted pre-season is very impressive and a great result for our team."