Niccolo Canepa salved a MotoGP best of ninth in his first home Italian Grand Prix appearance, despite sitting 17th and last as late as lap 9 of 23.

Clearly uncomfortable with his wet weather bike, the Pramac Ducati rider was the second rider to change to his dry bike after James Toseland, on lap six.

"With the rain Niccol? has unluckily lost too much time, but we have made the right choice to enter the pit to change bike as soon as possible and thanks to this he made to recover many positions," said Canepa's track engineer Marco Rigamonti.

After gaining confidence in the tricky conditions, the former Ducati test rider climbed quickly up the order, reaching ninth on lap 18, where he remained at the chequered flag to confirm the first top ten finish of the grand prix career.

"I am very happy today," said Canepa. "At the beginning with wet surface I was last; I didn't have the confidence to ride as I would have liked to. When the condition of the track got better I started to register very interesting lap times. My ninth position in my first Italian Grand Prix is not bad at all."

"He has done a really good job today, very calm but determined," stated Rigamonti. "We knew that here, on a track where he has already ridden, he would have done well. We are very happy of the work done this weekend."

Ninth place is just one position behind the best result by team-mate Mika Kallio. The Finn claimed eighth in the opening two rounds, but then failed to score in the next two.

In contrast to Canepa, the former 125 and 250GP title contender was happier in the wet on Sunday - dropping back to 13th in the dry.

"With the first bike everything seemed to go well, but than I don't know what happened with the bike with dry set up," said Mika. "In the first two turns I was going only 50km/h, but the bike didn't want to follow my instructions.

"In the second turn I almost went off track. I was going really slowly in the first two laps and this made me lose many positions. The situation was unmanageable, now we have to check where we went wrong," declared the #36.