After taking the all new Desmosedici GP15 to runner-up finishes in the opening three MotoGP rounds, Andrea Dovizioso looked well on target to achieve Gigi Dall'Igna's aim of winning at least one race.
A fourth podium in five races duly followed at Le Mans, but Dovizioso has made just one rostrum appearance in the twelve rounds since, heading into this weekend's season finale.
“It depends on which way you want to see it,” Dovizioso reflected. “In one way I think we have to be very happy with our season. Because if you start a new project in the second test at the end of February and do a lot of podiums, it means we are very, very competitive. So I'm really happy about that.
“The parts where we are not happy is that we didn't improve enough during the season. So we start very strong, but this season the competitors I think became a little bit stronger and for us it became more difficult.
“It's not always easy to analyse and understand exactly the reasons why we are not as strong and fast as at the beginning of the season.
“All the engineers and mechanics, all the people at the factory, work really heard this year and this is why we did our podiums but we want something more and we are working on that.
“But for next year there will be a big change, especially the [Michelin] tyres but also the [single] electronics.
“The riders have to adapt a lot to the tyres and also we have to be smart and understand how to set-up the bike for the tyres. The work of the manufacturers and the riders will be very important.
“I'm very excited by this change, like everybody just because it is different; it is always nice when you have some big change.
“I am quite optimistic because we are not so far away, it is not like in the past.”
Dovizioso has slipped steadily down the standings since his early season heroics and starts Valencia in seventh place.