Ducati Marlboro riders Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden were the only riders to gamble on wet tyres at the start of the British Grand Prix, a decision that badly backfired.

Rain began falling as the 17-strong premier class field assembled on the grid, but all other riders chose to start on slicks.

The Ducati gamble needed heavy rain to work, but instead the intermittent trickle of moisture saw them at the back of the field within four laps - and lapped before the halfway point of the 30 laps.

The weather did slowly worsen, but Stoner and Hayden only began to circulate quicker than the slick riders on lap 24. By then it was too late to make a difference and they finished at the back of the field - still one lap down - in 14th (Stoner) and 15th (Hayden) places.

Ducati MotoGP project manager Livio Suppo revealed that the team thought slicks were the correct choice, but the final decision had been made by the riders.

"We took a big gamble today and it didn't work," he confessed. "We actually informed both riders that all the other guys were on slicks and that we thought it was the right choice but they were both adamant it was too dangerous and at the end of the day we have to trust their instinct in a tricky situation like that. If it had rained heavier we might be celebrating an amazing success now but we're not and we have to accept it."

The result means that Stoner, who came into round ten 28 points from the world championship lead, remains in third place but is now 37 points adrift of Rossi and only gained two points on second place Lorenzo, who crashed out.

Nevertheless Stoner, who has been battling health problems for the last four rounds, felt the tyre choice was a risk worth taking.

"Everybody knows I've been struggling for the last few races in the dry so I was praying for the rain to come today. Every single lap we were out there it threatened to pour down and we were very close to having the perfect situation," he said.

"Unfortunately, even though it got heavier, it didn't come soon enough and our tyres were destroyed so it ended up being the wrong decision. For us, in our current situation, I still think it was a risk worth taking because it could have worked out fantastically but obviously we're disappointed it didn't.

"I'm sorry for the team because they've done a great job to give me a bike capable of winning races at every circuit we've been to lately, even though for one reason or another I haven't been able to get the best out of it. I'm looking forward to a break now and hopefully we come back a little bit stronger at Brno."

Having qualified just 15th in the dry, but been fourth in the wet warm-up, Hayden found the hero-or-zero decision easier to make, but the result no less frustrating.

"We took a big gamble, it backfired and it's frustrating because we made a big change to the bike for warm-up this morning and I had a great feeling with it in the wet," he explained. "The track was damp for the sighting lap and it was spitting with rain on the grid and since my pace on slicks hasn't been great all weekend we took a big gamble. I had nothing to lose so we rolled the dice.

"The odds were against me but it was so close to paying off. It rained throughout the race but the track was so warm the moisture wasn't accumulating on the ground and unfortunately that spelt disaster for us. I take full responsibility for the decision. We agreed on it together with the team but it was my shout, I thought 'let's try and be a hero here!'

"The tyre was pretty much destroyed after seven or eight laps but there was no point coming in to pit and it came apart five laps from the end. To be honest it's amazing how it held together for that long! I don't want to say it was a mistake; it was just a gamble that didn't pay off and we'll learn from it," he concluded.