Moving in the opposite direction was Toni Elias, who charged from just 15th on the grid to pass Capirossi for sixth with five laps to go, while Gresini Honda team-mate Melandri concluded his home race in a frustrating ninth after some early heroics.
One place in front of Melandri was second on the grid Chris Vermeulen, the Le Mans winner lacking the dry pace needed for a second consecutive podium, while world champion Nicky Hayden - Pedrosa's team-mate - rose just three places from his 13th on the grid.
Another American wishing he wasn't here was Rossi's team-mate Colin Edwards, who crossed the line 12th after qualifying down in 16th.
Italian Grand Prix:
17. Kenny Roberts