Andrea Dovizioso feels his dominant Valencia victory in the restarted wet race wasn’t solely down to Ducati set-up tweaks but the ‘mentality’ of riders meaning he was able to maintain a better pace than his rivals.

The Ducati rider capped a strong end to 2018 with victory in Valencia, Ducati’s first a Circuit Ricardo Tormo for a decade and the first of his career at the track, with flawless wet-weather riding in each MotoGP race following the initial start’s red flag after 15 laps.

In the 14-lap sprint restart, Dovizioso reeled in Rins to lead at the start of the second lap before taking control to win by 2.7 seconds.

Dovizioso produced an impressive turnaround over the wet Valencia race weekend having ended Friday practice outside the top ten. The Italian rider put his performance down to a combination of his own set-up gains and his rivals faltering in the race despite being quicker than him in the wet practice sessions.

“I wasn’t faster in the race compared to the practice just some riders were slower in the race than practice,” Dovizioso said. “Most of the riders are so fast in practice but not in the race. It is not really a big change from me to improve.

“The bike we are using with the electronics and tyres we have, with the power we have, a lot of riders are fast. If you check the winter tests everybody is within one second.

“At the end of the race there is 30 or 40 seconds from first to tenth. There are a lot of things to do with it.

“The mentality of a rider effects a lot between practice and race. If you start practice on the slick or wet tyres everybody is fast but in the race not many riders are there. I think the approach of the weekend and race makes a big difference.

“There is always a lot of ways to work during the weekend so also when you are not the fastest it doesn’t mean you are not able to fight for the podium. If you are able to fight for the podium than it is easier to fight for the victory.

“Also in this kind of race anything can happen, there were a lot of crashes, Marc was so strong with the medium [wet] rear, but I think with the medium rear and quantity of water we had was very bad. But he was there so anything can happen.”

Dovizioso had just taken the lead from Rins in the first race when he signalled to red flag it at the start of Lap 16 as the rain became heavier making track conditions unsafe.

The Italian rider says he was able to use the race suspension to find set-up tweaks, specifically to help to with rear grip under braking and corner entry, as well as a fresh rear wet tyre having preserved a spare but not using it in the warm-up session.

“We did some changes to the set-up because Valentino was much faster in braking and entering corners,” he explained. “The reason why I couldn’t be stronger like him was the rear so we did something to be able to brake a bit harder.

“The mix of the [new] tyre and the set-up worked well so I am so happy in the way we worked this weekend. Also every practice our speed was good but we never were the fastest. In the end in qualifying and the race we were there so I am so happy to finish the season like this. I am happy to give this victory to my team.”

The 2018 MotoGP runner-up, who claimed his highest podium tally for a single campaign with his Valencia win marking nine rostrum results to surpass his 2017 total of eight, also explained his decision to request the initial race to be red flagged.

“We spoke in the safety commission and they asked us to give a feedback on the condition of the track because from the TV it is not easy like it is for us to understand if it is over the limit or it is okay,” he said. “I tried to give feedback and they took the decision immediately.”