Valentino Rossi's 176th grand prix podium was surely one of the most rewarding, or perhaps relieving.
The seven time MotoGP champion ended his longest podium drought in grand prix racing with his best result so far as a Ducati rider on Sunday, when he finished second to Jorge Lorenzo at a soaking wet Le Mans.
And he did it by passing old rival (and soon to be ex-rival) Casey Stoner on the very final lap.
Rossi's only previous Ducati podium came with third place at the same track one year ago, with the 16 races between filled with disappointments and false dawns.
The Doctor began the 2012 weekend with a best finish of just seventh place with the new GP12 Ducati, but the 1000cc machine and its aluminum frame mystifyingly retains the effective wet weather form of the previous 800cc carbon-fibre bike.
No-one is exactly sure why the Desmosedici is so much more competitive in the wet, but Rossi's priority was simply to grab the rare podium opportunity it presents with both hands.
“I want to race in places where it rains a lot!” joked Rossi, who set the fastest race lap. “No, I know in these conditions I have a special chance to try for the podium, so it is very important that I concentrate and ride to the maximum.”
Starting seventh on the grid, Rossi was into a rostrum place as early as lap 3 of 28, and right behind reigning world champion Stoner, but then had a problem with his visor.
“At the beginning everything was ok, I was behind Casey in a perfect position, but then I had fog in my visor. I lost two or three seconds and also Dovizioso and Crutchlow came back,” said Rossi.
“I opened the visor and when I started to see again I had a very good pace. I overtook the two Yamahas, but after Dovi and Cal came with me so I had to push to the maximum.”
Rossi eventually broke free from the Tech 3 riders - both of whom would fall - then began closing rapidly on Stoner during the final ten laps.