Motorcycling: Dovizioso wins thrilling MotoGP season finale in Valencia as many riders crash out in rain

Race winner Ducati Team's Italian rider Andrea Dovizioso celebrates on the podium after the MotoGP race of the Valencia Grand Prix at the Ricardo Tormo racetrack in Cheste, on Nov 18, 2018.
Race winner Ducati Team's Italian rider Andrea Dovizioso celebrates on the podium after the MotoGP race of the Valencia Grand Prix at the Ricardo Tormo racetrack in Cheste, on Nov 18, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Italian Andrea Dovizioso mastered wet conditions in a dramatic two-part race to win the MotoGP season finale at the Valencia Grand Prix on Sunday (Nov 18).

The Ducati rider twice passed Suzuki's Alex Rins, the long-time leader, before and after a 40-minute red-flag stoppage to record his fourth victory of the season.

A crash for seven-time champion Valentino Rossi with five laps to go handed Pol Espargaro and KTM their first podium in the premier class.

Rossi still secured third place in the championship ahead of Yamaha teammate and pole-sitter Maverick Vinales, who was one of several riders to crash out as conditions took a turn for the worse.

Marc Marquez, who wrapped up his fifth world title with three races to spare in Japan last month, went down with 21 laps to go after starting fifth.

The red flags were out on lap 15, and the race order was rolled back to lap 13.

Spaniard Rins held the lead off the line but Dovizioso passed him on the main straight on the next lap, before pulling away to take the chequered flag with a healthy advantage of 2.75 seconds.