Without even a podium during the opening six races, Michael Rinaldi celebrated his first victory as an Aruba.it Ducati World Superbike rider in front of his home fans at Misano on Saturday.

Quickest in free practice, Rinaldi was relegated to the second row in Superpole but made his intensions clear by going 'bar-to-'bar with Jonathan Rea through the opening chicane at the start of the race.

The duel briefly allowed Toprak Razgatlioglu into the lead, but Rinaldi was leading from Rea by the end of the opening lap.

Rea then kept pressure on the Ducati rider until lap 10 of 21, when a major front-end moment allowed Rinaldi to escape and put Razgatlioglu into second.

Making the moment especially special for Rinaldi was the chance to celebrate in front of his home fans.

"Winning the home grand prix is a unique emotion. Today it was even more exciting due to the fans back in the stands after a long time: they are always able to give an extra motivation," he said.

"The race was long and difficult and I tried to find my pace. Then Rea’s mistake while I was pushing hard allowed me to have less pressure. The smell of victory made the last two laps incredible for me. Now, however, maximum concentration on the two races tomorrow."

Rinaldi's team-mate Scott Redding qualified on the outside of the front row, but dropped out of a rostrum position on lap 5 and spent the rest of the race in fourth.

"It was a very difficult race for me right from the start. The feeling with the bike was not ideal and I had to take a lot of risks to push in an attempt to stay with the leading group," Redding said.

"At a certain point I preferred to think about taking some points rather than making a mistake. For tomorrow we definitely need to find more grip. We will work this evening with the team to understand which is the best direction to take".

The Englishman, who has taken two victories so far this season, will start Sunday's races 10 points behind Razgatlioglu and 41 from Rea. Rinaldi rises to fifth place, 35 points adrift of Redding.