Fresh from a debut Desmosedici podium in his second home race of the season, last weekend at Indianapolis, Nicky Hayden heads straight into Ducati's second home race of the season, at Misano.
Earlier in the year at the Italian Grand Prix, team-mate and then title contender Casey Stoner ended Valentino Rossi's seven-year reign to hand Ducati its first Mugello grand prix win.
Hayden was only twelfth in the wet/dry race, but with Stoner sidelined the American is now Ducati's best chance of success at Misano - and has pledged to do all he can to please the partisan fans.
“The little time we've had since Indy has flown by and even though I would have liked to have a bit more time to reflect on last weekend, Misano is right on us and that is what we have to focus on,” he said.
“Last year I rode in practice but wasn't able to take part ion the race because of my foot injury but I like the circuit - there are a couple of fast right-handers at the end of the lap in particular that are a lot of fun.
“At Mugello I realised how special it is to race for Ducati in Italy so hopefully I can give all the Ducatisti even more reason to party. I know it won't be easy and I can't get overconfident even though everything went so well at Indy.
“I've learnt that this bike can quickly put you back in your place if you get cocky so once again I'll just be putting my head down and giving it my maximum,” he declared.
After a terrible start to the year, Hayden is now up to twelfth in the championship and within 15 points of seventh placed Alex de Angelis.
That seventh place is significant because it is where Loris Capirossi finished in 2007 - and remains the best end-of-year result by a Ducati rider other than Stoner since the 800cc class began.
Hayden should find out this weekend if he will be retained by Ducati for 2010.