A double MotoGP race winner for the first time since the 2010 season, Valentino Rossi's Phillip Island victory also means he regained the initiative in the fight for second in this year's world championship standings.

Rossi had been tied with Dani Pedrosa, with both under increasing pressure from back-to-back winner Jorge Lorenzo.

However Rossi's victory over his Movistar Yamaha team-mate in Australia, combined with a DNF for Pedrosa, means the Italian starts this weekend's penultimate round at Sepang eight-points clear of Lorenzo and 25 from Pedrosa.

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"Apart from the temperature being a bit too high for MotoGP racing, I really like the Malaysian track," said Rossi. "I have always had good races here. We are doing a good job this season and I want to get a good result here. We are working well with the team and I feel very well.

"The last victory in Australia was great, we are very happy but mostly it was another beautiful confirmation of the good work we're doing. This weekend we have to work well from Friday and fix every little detail to get to the race with a good set-up.

"The bike has improved a lot and this showed with three Yamaha riders on the Australian podium. The race in Malaysia will be the last of three in a row. I will do my best to win again.

"I got my second win of the season and now I want to fight for second place in the championship. It will be a great fight with Dani and Jorge in the next two races!"
Rossi was second fastest to newly crowned double champion Marc Marquez at the opening pre-season test at Sepang in February, then quickest of all at the next test, which Marquez missed due to a broken leg.

Team director Massimo Meregalli added: "After two great weekends we arrive at the last of the three back-to-back races. We had some great results these last few weeks with Vale's amazing victory at Phillip Island last weekend and Jorge winning the weekend before at Motegi, but the Grand Prix of Malaysia might be the biggest challenge of the three.

"Sepang always is quite challenging because of the heat and its specific layout. Thanks to the pre-season test we have quite a lot of data and since the riders both like this circuit, I think we can be positive in our expectations. The bike is working really well and it will be interesting to see how our newfound data from this season will affect our times. We are ready to do our best again, which is very important as we are almost at the end of the season."

The last time Rossi won more than two races in a season was 2009, when he claimed his seventh premier-class title.