There was to be no home miracle for Valentino Rossi and Ducati, during Sunday's Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.
Returning to the scene of some of his most glorious victories, and last year's leg breaking accident, the first of Rossi's set-backs began even before Friday practice, when legendary crew chief Jerry Burgess returned to Australia to be with his sick wife.
Opening practice then saw Rossi suffer electrical problems with both his bikes, with afternoon rain leaving second practice all but useless.
Saturday morning's FP3 stayed dry, but the afternoon qualifying session saw rain showers return - and Rossi just twelfth on the grid.
The 2002-2008 Mugello winner didn't gain any places on the first lap of the race - the second grand prix for the newly-introduced GP11.1 motorcycle – before rising steadily to sixth by the halfway mark. A position he held to the chequered flag.
Rossi was the leading Ducati rider, although 26 seconds from race winner Jorge Lorenzo, with a best race lap 0.899sec slower than his former Yamaha team-mate.
One of the biggest surprises to date is that, regardless of how competitive the Desmosedici is relative to the Hondas and Yamahas, Rossi has not been head-and-shoulders clear of the other Ducati riders.
At Mugello, Rossi finished only 2.2sec in front of Aspar Ducati rider Hector Barbera and his best race lap was only 0.167sec quicker than the Spaniard.
Rossi's factory team-mate Nicky Hayden was sixth on lap one, then run off track and finished tenth, but the American's best lap was only 0.223sec behind Rossi.
“We have a bike that is different in many aspects from the one we started the season with," explained Rossi. "We're aware that it needs to undergo further development from a technical point of view, but even at this stage it has shown that it has a good margin of improvement just with setup.