If pop­u­lar­ity could de­cide race wins then Dovizioso would have racked up quite a lot more than two in the pre­mier class – or maybe he’d have none (they’d all be Rossi’s). Ei­ther way, the like­able Du­cati pi­lot could only boast a conspicuously shy sin­gle wi

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - IN MALAYSIA MO­TOGP RE­PORTER si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

An­drea Dovizioso has taken a stun­ning race vic­tory at the Malaysian Grand Prix to be­come Mo­togp’s record-break­ing ninth win­ner of the 2016 sea­son – as well as tak­ing only his sec­ond win dur­ing nine years in the pre­mier class.

The Ital­ian didn’t just win Sun­day’s race – he dom­i­nated the en­tire week­end, tak­ing the pole po­si­tion, fastest lap and race win en route to Du­cati’s sec­ond win of the sea­son. It’s the first time since 2007 that Du­cati have won two races in a sea­son, when Loris Capirossi and Casey Stoner took the hon­ours.

Ap­pear­ing to be in con­trol all race, even when fel­low Ital­ians Valentino Rossi and An­drea Ian­none were dic­ing for the lead, Dovizioso was able to bide his time, mak­ing sure he had the tyres left at the end to push for his first win since a sim­i­larly wet vic­tory at Don­ing­ton Park in 2009.

“It was very dif­fi­cult. From the out­side, it looks like I was con­trol­ling the race,” ex­plained Dovi. “But that wasn’t the re­al­ity! The first half of the race was very fast, but I didn’t give up and I didn’t make a mis­take. That’s what gave me the op­por­tu­nity to win at the end.

“I’m happy about my bike in the con­di­tions, too, be­cause I was able to keep the same speed from the be­gin­ning to the end. The race and the qual­i­fy­ing went per­fectly. It’s a re­ally nice feel­ing, and im­por­tant to get th­ese re­sults at a track that’s al­ways been one of my favourites, but that I’ve never won at.”

The win comes as a wel­come turn­ing point for the Ital­ian, af­ter a sea­son that has sent him more than his fair share of chal­lenges. Tak­ing a strong sec­ond place at the first round in Qatar, it all went down­hill from there, when first his team-mate and then Dani Pe­drosa knocked him from con­sec­u­tive races – and po­ten­tial podium fin­ishes.

“For sure, in the sec­ond, third and fourth races I had re­ally bad luck,” said Dovi. “I had three ze­ros, and none of them were my fault. That’s a lot of points gone, and I was able to make two podi­ums from three races there. It would have changed my whole cham­pi­onship. I started with a re­ally great race in Qatar, and then stayed on 20 points for too long.”

But while the 30-year-old may have timed his win to per­fec­tion as he charges to­wards a new sea­son on the Du­cati GP17, he was quick to put the ball firmly in the team’s court for next sea­son as he seeks to go even faster.

“While a vic­tory for Du­cati and me is good, it’s not enough,” he added. “We want to fight for the cham­pi­onship, and we don’t have enough, but we’re very close. Four years ago, it was very bad, and now we’re in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion. That’s why I can say I’m happy about the im­prove­ment from Du­cati this year, but we still need a lit­tle more to be able to fight for it. We can speak about fight­ing for the podi­ums in many races, and I’m proud of that.”

Dovi took Du­cati’s sec­ond GP vic­tory of the year – that’s not hap­pened since 2007

Dovi waited be­fore mak­ing a move on Rossi Bring­ing it home safely net­ted cru­cial 25 points

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