Andrea Dovizioso says it will be difficult for Ducati to fix all its weaknesses in time for the 2018 MotoGP season, but he expects to fight for the title again.
The Italian enjoyed a breakthrough 2017 campaign, winning six races and taking the championship fight with Marc Marquez down to the final race of the year at Valencia.
While Ducati has enjoyed an advantage on power circuits in recent years, it is trying to improve its performance on tighter tracks as well to make its bike more of an all-rounder, but Dovizioso does not expect that to be fully resolved over one winter.
"I think we're pretty well placed and we're in the game next year," Dovizioso told Italy's Radio 1.
Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) - Grand Prix of Valencia 2017Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A
"We're still missing some things, we are not perfect. But I don't see any of our opponents having everything in place at the moment.
"It will be difficult to eradicate our weaknesses for 2018, but we know exactly what we must do and where to improve.
"There will not be many changes. The bike is just an update so I think we can start  very similar as we finished .
"I've no doubt I'll be able to fight [for the title]. I think the competitors look at us in a little bit of a different way than at the beginning of last season.
"To win it is another thing, but if you have a good base, if you work well and you know your bike's shortcomings, you and your team can make the difference."
Reflecting on his 2017 season, Dovizioso picked out August's Silverstone race as his most satisfying victory.
Marc Marquez, Andrea Dovizioso, Honda HRC, Ducati, MotoGP Valencia, Getty ImagesGetty Images
"Being in contention until the end was really nice," he added. "We managed to be competitive through the whole season and we manage to worry Marquez, the rider who is making the difference.
"We had a lot of satisfactions, but maybe the best race for me was Silverstone, because we were not the fastest but we did everything perfectly."