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.