Ducati finally won the Italian Grand Prix at its seventh attempt on Sunday, when Casey Stoner conquered Mugello for the home manufacturer - and took the MotoGP World Championship lead.

The Italian Grand Prix had been won by home hero Valentino Rossi, using Honda and Yamaha machinery, ever since 2002 - but Stoner emerged victorious by one second over Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo after a nerve-racking wet/dry race.

After leading in the early stages, Stoner dropped back to sixth position when his wet tyres degraded, but kept in touch and was fourth at the time of his pit stop, on lap 10 of 23.

Crucially, Stoner's team fitted the softest available (medium) compound slick tyres both front and rear to his Desmosedici, allowing the Australian to get quickly up to speed on the damp track.

Stoner's first lap out of the pits was a 2min 6.761sec, compared with 2min 10.526sec for Lorenzo and 2min 13.483sec for Rossi.

As a result, Stoner was up to second within one lap and took the lead on lap 14. After overcoming a clutch problem, and fighting off Loris Capirossi, the 2007 world champion was able to keep just out of reach of Lorenzo, whilst Rossi's late charge on hard tyres left him two seconds adrift at the flag.

"I have already won in Italy, at Misano in 2007, and it was great for Ducati but this was the one I really wanted," admitted Stoner, after his 18th MotoGP race victory. "We've struggled to find a great setting here for the past two years but today was our day.

"We started out well in the wet, I felt good and the bike was doing great until the wet tyres were worn out. I kept trying to push to the limit because I didn't want to lose ground on the others like at Le Mans and stayed out there until I was absolutely sure it was the right time to change tyres.

"As soon as I went out on slicks I felt comfortable and competitive," he continued. "Unfortunately I had an issue with the clutch and it started to give me a few problems. Loris came past and was pushing hard and riding very well and he kept me on my toes.

"At one point I thought it was all over but thankfully I was able to work out a way to ride around the problem and bring the victory home. I made a couple of mistakes over the final two laps but luckily it didn't matter. It was a really difficult race but a great one for the whole team, for Filippo [Preziosi], for everybody at Ducati and all the Ducatisti. I'm so happy today."

"This is definitely a special win for us," added Claudio Domenicali, Ducati Corse CEO and Ducati Motor Holding Product Director. "Mugello is our home circuit, where Vittoriano [Guareschi] has done thousands of kilometres in testing and where the Desmosedici made his first test in 2002.

"So to win here in front of so many passionate Italian fans, factory workers and suppliers, with the Ducati stand even more packed than ever, is a great feeling and a source of great pride. It is a good opportunity for us to thank all the sponsors who make results like this possible, our technicians and everybody working either at the track or back at the factory who give us the opportunity to unleash the full potential of an extraordinary rider.

"Casey rode majestically on board a machine that is built on the sweat of a lot of people."

Stoner's second victory of the season has put him back into the MotoGP World Championship lead by four points over Lorenzo, with Rossi five points further back.