Niccolo Canepa left his first British Grand Prix with a career-best eighth place finish, and as the top Ducati rider.

While factory riders Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden made an ill-fated gamble on wet weather tyres, Canepa and Pramac team-mate Mika Kallio joined the other 15 riders in using slicks on the increasingly wet Donington Park surface.

Kallio and Canepa were holding seventh and eighth on lap 23 of 30, when Kallio decided to dive into the pits for his wet bike. Marco Melandri, Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen also made the change.

But Canepa braved it out on slicks to claim his second top ten of the season and cross the line as the leading Desmosedici rider, in what was the 21-year-old's tenth grand prix.

"It has been an unusual race because the track remained humid from the first to the last lap. At one point it was very difficult to remain on the bike," said Niccolo.

"The riders with more experience than me in this championship have a small advantage on the dry, but in these conditions maybe a bit of madness and sensibility on the bike is needed!

"Also on the dry track I am improving race after race, reducing my distance from the best riders. This result makes me go on holiday feeling a bit more serene and ready to start with even more enthusiasm in Brno," he added.

"Second top ten for Niccol? and once again with confusing track conditions," said track engineer Marco Rigamonti. "We chose to start the race with dry settings and Niccol? decided not to change the bike when it started to rain and I believe these two decisions were the best ones.

"Niccol? is at ease with this kind of track condition. At the beginning, with the dry surface, he took some laps to warm up the tyres, but once he found a good feeling he made a good comeback. We are really happy for him. He deserves it because he has always given his best and never gave up."

Kallio finished tenth, with Stoner 14th and Hayden 15th.

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