Casey Stoner will start his last Italian race as a 'home' Ducati rider this weekend at Misano.

Stoner won on MotoGP's return to the beachside track in 2007, but crashed from the lead in 2008 and missed the 2009 round due to sickness.

The Australian returns on the back of his third DNF of the season last weekend at Indianapolis, after a crash that ended his run of five successive podiums.

Stoner and Ducati still haven't won a race since Malaysia last year.

"Indy was obviously a big disappointment for us but we're looking ahead," said Stoner. "I am happy to be going to one of Ducati's home circuits and a place where we have gone fast in the past.

"It is the third of the races I missed in 2009 so we'll see what we can do this weekend.

"We'll have to work hard on the front again because we don't want to take a backward step on the progress we've made recently. The whole team is working really hard, the guys are giving everything like always so hopefully we can have a good result to celebrate on Sunday."

Team-mate Nicky Hayden claimed his first Ducati front row start at Indy, but it counted for little after his knee slider was ripped off on a drain cover early in the race. Hayden finished sixth.

The American was taken out by Alex de Angelis in last year's Misano race, and will be looking to at least complete his first racing lap of the track since 2007!

"We had a really good pace in race trim during practice and warm-up at Misano last year but I got hit from behind in the race on the Sunday," he recalled. "It is always special to race a Ducati in Italy and I can't wait for it.

"Last year went like I said and in 2008 I didn't race because of a foot injury so we'll try to make up for it on Sunday, when I'm sure we'll have the support of a lot of fans and a lot of people from Ducati."

"The race definitely didn't go to plan at Indianapolis but both Casey and Nicky had the pace to be on the podium," said team manager Vittoriano Guareschi. "Now we head to Misano, a place where both riders have proved in the past that they can be on the pace so we hope that's the case again this weekend."

Hayden will join Valentino Rossi at Ducati next season, when Stoner moves to Honda.


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