Fiat Yamaha may have lost reigning seven time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi through injury at Mugello, but his team-mate and title leader Jorge Lorenzo looked set to keep the team's unbeaten 2010 run alive in the race.
Lorenzo had qualified second on the grid - the same starting place he had won the previous two races from - and even pole sitter Dani Pedrosa named Lorenzo as the man to beat.
But 'something happened' to Lorenzo on Sunday.
The #99 was unable to stick anywhere near to Pedrosa - whose lead reached eight seconds at one stage - and Lorenzo instead had his hands full to claim second place from Pedrosa's Repsol Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.
"Unfortunately my pace today wasn't as good as yesterday and I could only finish second; something happened and I couldn't ride in the same way but in the circumstances I am happy with my result,” said Lorenzo, after his fourth podium from four races.
“Anyway Dani had a perfect race today; he had an amazing pace and I don't know if I could have beaten him even if I had been as fast as yesterday.”
Lorenzo's best race lap was 0.887sec slower than Pedrosa and 0.125sec behind Dovizioso.
But the championship standings made much more comfortable viewing for Lorenzo, who came into Mugello just nine points ahead of Rossi and leaves 25 points in front of new nearest rival Pedrosa.
“To take 90 points from 100 is great and I am leading the championship, so I cannot ask for more,” said Lorenzo, who nonetheless wants improvements in several areas: “I need to make some improvements to my riding style and Yamaha needs to try to improve the power of the bike a bit so we have some things to work on, but I am confident about the next weeks.”
Lorenzo wore a yellow VR46 t-shirt on the podium and had hoped to dedicate victory to his injured team-mate, who will probably be absent for months.
“It was very strange today without Valentino, I am so glad the fans honoured him so well. I wanted to win to dedicate the victory to him but that wasn't possible so all I can do is say 'get well soon!'” said Lorenzo.
“We are 25 points clear in the championship which is great but we all know why, because Valentino isn't here, and it's a sad situation,” added Lorenzo's team manager Wilco Zeelenberg. “We all wish him the best."