Andrea Dovizioso says his rostrum finish at Phillip Island is proof of the continued progress of the Ducati this year.

The Australian circuit has not been the most rewarding of tracks for the Italian manufacturer in recent seasons, but Dovizioso’s third place – his 50th MotoGP podium – is further evidence of the Ducati’s title credentials.

With thoughts already beginning to turn to 2019 after Marc Marquez’s fifth MotoGP title triumph, Dovizioso says his chances of winning the championship next season will be ‘better than this year’.

“For sure, better than this year. We proved our improvement this year, especially from the second part of the championship and the confirmation was in Phillip Island. It was very important to understand that but I think that is not enough,” said Dovizioso, speaking ahead of this weekend’s penultimate round of the championship at Sepang in Malaysia.

“What it (rostrum) means is the bike is better, because every practice – all through Saturday with a lot of wind – we were stronger than last year, but we couldn’t really fight for the victory. Also from my side, I need to improve something.

“I think I am good in some kind of tracks, I become better in some other tracks but still I think I have margin to improve my position on the bike, my riding style, in this kind of track. We have to continue to improve the bike if you really want to fight for the championship so I will continue to improve myself.”

Dovizioso secured his maiden premier class rostrum at Sepang in 2008 following a battle with the late Nicky Hayden, a race he remembers vividly today.

“I remember very well that weekend and that race. I had a strong fight with Nicky; it was my first year in MotoGP and in the last corner we were braking very hard and I was able to arrive in front of him. It was nice, it was a good feeling at the end of the season,” he said.

“I think it is really good, this track for me, but in the past if we look at the results, we didn’t make a lot of good results on the track. The last three years, we won on the wet, so it will be very important to race on the dry and it will be interesting to see our speed.”