SEPANG - Honda's Dani Pedrosa set the pace Thursday on day two of testing in Malaysia as injured teammate MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez said he would also miss next week's Phillip Island test.

Marquez, who is absent from the Sepang circuit testing due to a broken leg, said his surgeon had advised him against taking "unnecessary risk" so that he is fit for the season's opening race on March 23. The 21-year-old Spaniard, who last year became the youngest rider ever to win the world title and the first rookie in 35 years, suffered the broken leg during training last week in Spain. "I'm obviously disappointed that I'm not in Sepang at the moment and to miss Phillip Island is also unfortunate," Marquez said in a statement.

"So I will take time to rest and get myself as fit as possible to return to Qatar for the first race." Since 2009 no premier-class rider has won the MotoGP title back-to-back. It was a solid day of work for Pedrosa, who is seeking to capture an elusive first MotoGP world title, after hitting the top of the timesheet in 2 minutes 00.039 seconds and ahead of Yamaha pair Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo. "My performance today was better than yesterday. The bike was stable on the corner. We will work on the rear tyre tomorrow," Pedrosa said.  But the Spaniard's best lap time was 0.5 seconds slower than the marker set down by Marquez in the previous Sepang test as riders again complained the track was greasy forcing the 22 riders to throttle back. Yamaha's Aleix Espargaro who dominated early testing came in second at 2:00.320 while Honda's Alvaro Bautista who posted the fastest time on day one of a test session in this notoriously tricky circuit was in third position -- 0.461 seconds behind Pedrosa. Nine-time Italian world champion Rossi came in fourth, 0.566 seconds slower than rival Pedrosa. Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso who came in fifth with a time of 2:00.787 was again the fastest in the Italian team. Lorenzo -- a two-time MotoGP champion -- came ninth with 2:01.049.

Riders come to Sepang early each year for two test sessions to put bikes and equipment through their paces on the tight-turning in the often hot and humid circuit in preparation for the coming season.

The current session ends on Friday. Another three-day session follows at Phillip Island from Monday, followed by another at Qatar's Losail circuit. The new season kicks off at Losail on March 23. Malaysia will host the championship on October 26.