Andrea Dovizioso said his race strategy worked perfectly as he sealed a sixth victory of the season at Sepang to take the MotoGP world title race down to the wire.

Dovizioso came through from fourth place in the wet to repeat his 2016 victory in Malaysia, leading home a one-two for Ducati ahead of team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.

With championship leader Marc Marquez finishing fourth on the Repsol Honda, Dovizioso still holds a mathematical chance of claiming the title at Valencia in Spain in November.

The Italian rider, who is 21 points behind Marquez with one race to go, said: “We did everything perfect and it wasn’t easy, so I am so happy about that to show to everybody that with our work, we can really be competitive in this difficult track in the dry and wet.

“It’s very difficult to be strong and fast and to be on top in every practice in both conditions, so [I am] sad for the work of the team because we improve in the dry practice by practice, we have a good pace for the race and we were able to fight for the victory.

“On the wet we knew our bike worked very well. The grip was so low in the race and worse than the practice, maybe because there was a lot of rubber on the ground after all the practice and races of Moto2 and Moto3.”

Dovizioso said he was happy to sit behind Marquez in fourth place on the opening laps until he developed a feel for the conditions before making his move.

“At the beginning I took time to become smooth again because I wasn’t so comfortable and confident like in the practice,” said the 31-year-old.

“Fortunately nobody pushed me from the back and I take time to try to understand and see my positive points and if I could improve my negative points. I was able to catch Jorge and today he was really fast, so I had to be really concentrated to stay with him.”

The odds are stacked against him at Valencia and Dovizioso acknowledges that he will need a large slice of luck to emerge as the 2017 MotoGP world champion in two weeks’ time.

“I didn’t expect to be that competitive this weekend and many weekends this year, nobody expected us to be there, so we have to keep thinking positive like before we came here,” he said.

“We will try to be fast and after that we can think about strategy, but we can’t make a strategy – we just have to win. We know Valencia is not the best track and Marc is really strong but this year anything can happen during the weekend and you never know about the weather.”


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