With the 2008 MotoGP riders', teams' and constructors' championships already decided in Valentino Rossi and Yamaha's favour - and Casey Stoner confirmed as runner-up to the Italian - Ducati's main goal at this weekend's Valencia season finale is to defend second place in the constructors' championship.
Constructors' championship points are awarded for the highest placed rider on each brand of machine, so a maximum of 25 points are available at each race, and Ducati is presently just one point in front of Honda.
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa beat Stoner for a home victory at Valencia last season and Ducati remains heavily reliant on Stoner, its only race winner this season. But the Australian is riding injured and will require major wrist surgery just days after the race.
And whilst Stoner's three Ducati colleagues are unlikely to mount a podium challenge, Pedrosa's team-mate Nicky Hayden - who will join Ducati next season - has claimed two podiums and two front row starts from the last three events at the Spanish circuit, with satellite Honda riders also traditionally strong at Valencia.
"Hopefully we can finish the season at Valencia with a good result that allows us to hang on to second place in the constructors' championship," said Ducati MotoGP project director Livio Suppo.
"It's a big ask because Dani [Pedrosa] is very strong at this track and he arrives on the back of a very good race, whilst Nicky has always been fast at Valencia and the characteristics of the track should suit the satellite Hondas.
"We hope Casey's wrist problem isn't as prohibitive here so that he can have a good race for himself and for us!" admitted Suppo. "It will also be Marco's last race with us. It would be really nice to finish off a tough season on a high at a circuit where he has already won in MotoGP."