Marc Marquez has paid tribute to MotoGP title rival Andrea Dovizioso, describing the Italian as ‘an incredible opponent’.

Factory Ducati rider Dovizioso took the world championship battle down to the wire at Valencia in Spain, where his race ultimately ended in disappointment after he came off the GP17 with six laps remaining.

Dovizioso needed a minor miracle to pip Marquez to the post as he trailed the Repsol Honda rider by 21 points going into the final race, but he refused to throw in the towel and Marquez says he has the utmost respect for the championship runner-up and Ducati.

“I already said before that I am disappointed that he didn’t finish the race today because he is an incredible opponent, and incredible person, and I have a really good relationship with him,” Marquez said.

“I saw on the big screen that the Ducati guys go to my boss to congratulate, so full respect and this is very nice. I learned many things from Andrea, especially mental things: the way to approach the races, the way to approach weekends and he showed me that you need understand well and forget the others.

“This is something that not many people can do but he is one of the best ones or maybe the best one to do that.”

Marquez says he intends to make the most of his hard-earned championship success before the real work for 2018 begins at the Valencia test on Tuesday.

“Next year will be another year and at the moment until January 1st I am the world champion, but then I am just another rider. It will be a new year and we will hope to fight again for the championship and work hard during the pre-season,” he said.

“Like we saw this year, you need to pay attention to all the riders and Johann [Zarco] will be very fast, Dovi and the Ducatis – we will see how is the level of the Yamahas also. Now we will enjoy but on Tuesday starts the new season.”