Andrea Dovizioso concluded his rookie MotoGP season, and Team Scot career, as the top Michelin rider in Sunday's season-ending Valencia grand prix - then symbolically handed his machine over to waiting team-mate Yuki Takahashi, who will make his MotoGP debut on Monday.

Dovizioso, a Team Scot rider for the last seven years, will move to the factory Repsol Honda team in 2009 - having secured a coveted factory seat with a series of strong rides on his satellite RC212V, culminating in a debut podium one week ago at Sepang.

The Italian wasn't able to repeat that result in Valencia, but he still delivered an highly impressive performance, rising from ninth to fifth on the opening lap and taking fourth from departing Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden on lap six of 30.

Dovi finished two seconds in front of the 2006 world champion to be the top Michelin rider during the French company's final MotoGP race, although he couldn't prevent Jorge Lorenzo lifting the rookie of the year crown.

Dovizioso finished his first premier-class season in fifth, one place and 16 points behind the factory Yamaha rider. Dovizioso will also make his Repsol Honda, and Bridgestone, debut during testing on Monday.

"This was my last race with my team, with whom I've been with for seven consecutive years," said Dovizioso, a former 125cc world champion. "I still remember when running in the Italian Championship, being contacted by them to join the team.

"From tomorrow I will be an official Honda rider and this is the achievement of a dream, but there is also sorrow to leave a team that has always believed in me, that gave me the opportunity to contest the MotoGP championship. We have had a good season, often in front of 'official' factory machines and we achieved all the goals we set ourselves.

"Today in the race, I started well but after that I knew things would become difficult. I lost time overtaking both Nicky Hayden and James Toseland, but I was not able to stay with Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi.

"For next year I will have a motorcycle, which I can develop and also I will have a new team with different working methods. I know I must still improve, I will have to understand how to steer the development of the motorcycle, and in the race I must be more consistent. There will be equality of tyres also, which will be good for me.

"Today I left my bike with Yuki Takahashi, as he is coming to this category, and he was my team-mate in 250s. I think he could do well in MotoGP, as in recent years he has had injuries that have influenced his results, but he has come back so strong. His approach to it will be interesting, as with MotoGP, at first it seems easy but then it becomes very challenging!" revealed Dovizioso, who will ride alongside Dani Pedrosa in 2009.

"And so ends a season that has seen us achieve the goals we set ourselves," said Cirano Mularoni, team manager of JiR Team Scot. "Andrea is the fifth-best rider in the championship, the first 'customer' motorcycle home and he also climbed onto the podium in Malaysia. In the races he has often managed to stay ahead of some of the works riders, and today he once again confirmed his potential and those of the team."

Takahashi will graduate to MotoGP having finished fifth for JiR Team Scot in this year's 250cc World Championship with three podiums, including second place in Sunday's race. The Japanese has two 250cc victories to his credit, both from 2006.

"Tomorrow I will ride for the first time on the Honda MotoGP bike and right now I'm feeling many different emotions, all together. I am happy, eager and I am realising a dream," said Yuki.



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