Carlos Checa has given Ducati a World Superbike victory on home soil at Imola after a determined last lap challenge by Leon Haslam ended with the Suzuki rider in the gravel trap.
The Spaniard had been the fastest rider in the dry throughout the weekend, but a fall during Superpole had placed him on the back foot in ninth position.
Nonetheless, just as he did on the way to his first win of the season at Phillip Island, Checa was meticulous in his comeback through the field, snatching the lead from an inspired Lorenzo Lanzi with six laps remaining.
Checa wasn't able to rest though as he came under late pressure from Haslam, the Briton launching a last gasp move on the final lap at Rivazza, only to get it wrong and be forced to take a trip across the gravel trap. He recovered to fifth position.
One of the season's more entertaining encounters, the unusual grid order – led by Tom Sykes on pole position – made the final result difficult to predict throughout the race as some of the more fancied riders worked their way back into contention.
Far from feeling the pressure of starting on pole position for the first time, Sykes got the best getaway to dive into the lead at Tamburello, followed by Haslam, Jakub Smrz, Troy Corser, Luca Scassa and Lanzi
Indeed, while it was anticipated that the likes of Sykes, Smrz and Lanzi would drop back straight away, instead Sykes pulled out a good margin over Haslam initially, while Lanzi was setting fastest laps just behind.
Even more unexpected was Haslam's error on lap eight whilst pressuring Sykes, the Suzuki rider running straight on at Tamburello, a mistake that dropped him down to fourth place and instigated an unlikely duel for the lead between Sykes and Lanzi.
Lanzi, whose best result this season coming to Imola is a mere eighth, continued his relentless charge up the order as he snatched the lead from Sykes at the end of lap nine with a dive up the inside on the final corner.