Valentino Rossi was all smiles as the Yamaha Factory Racing star made a flying start to 2014 at Sepang.

The MotoGP legend was second only to world champion Marc Marquez, lapping in 2m 0.804s on the M1 as he featured in the top three positions for the duration of the opening day of the IRTA test in Malaysia.

Rossi, who begins pre-season testing with new crew chief Silvano Galbusera, said he has already made a breakthrough with the Yamaha as he bids to overcome some of the issues he experienced in 2013.

"The atmosphere in the team is good, I'm very happy about the work of Silvano [Galbusera] and everyone is in a good mood. It is only the first day and if I want to be more competitive and fight with the top three, we have to improve tomorrow and the day after tomorrow," Rossi said.

"It's a bit different [working with Silvano Galbusera] but I needed this change. It was a big pity for me [parting from Jerry Burgess] but I am happy. Speaking in Italian is easier, but also motivation is high. It's a good start, but it is just a start.

"I feel good and I'm in a good shape. I'm happy because we've been very fast and always stayed in the top three positions," added Rossi.

"We worked a lot on the bike and on the new stuff to try and improve my problems. We already found something. I'm happy because I feel good with the bike and was able to go into the 2'00 minute mark, that was my target. It's a positive day."

Rossi was the first of the factory rider to make their way onto the circuit enjoyed a brief spell at the top of the times prior to the lunch break.

He was overhauled by team-mate Jorge Lorenzo in the afternoon, but a succession of quick laps towards the end saw Rossi retake second place on the time sheets, half a second down on Marquez and ahead of Dani Pedrosa, with Lorenzo fourth (2m 01.082s).

The nine-time world champion is pleased with the progress made by Yamaha since the Valencia test, with improvements to the engine braking of his M1.

"I already tried the 2014 bike in Valencia but Yamaha worked a lot for me on engine braking and helping me stop the bike, which was my main problem last year," he said.

"We can improve more but it looks like we are in a good way. And also for me to be in my second year on the M1 is better.

"I have more experience with the bike and can work towards being stronger than last year. It looks like this bike has very big potential."


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