After 23 mostly forgettable races on a notoriously difficult machine, factory Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo pulled off spectacular back-to-back victories in 2018.
The 31-year-old claimed his first victory since joining Ducati in Mugello, leading home a one-two for his team and ending a drought stretching back to Valencia in November 2016.
The five-time world champion had struggled to find form since leaving Yamaha, only reaching seventh place in the World Championship with Ducati in 2017.
The combination of a revised chassis and tweaked ergonomics made the difference for Lorenzo, but for championship leader Marc Marquez, the Italian Grand Prix was a different story. He crashed on the fifth lap, remounted, but finished out of the points in 16th, leaving Lorenzo to lead the pack unchallenged.
After dominating the field in Italy, the announcement which completely blindsided the paddock came from Lorenzo when he announced he had signed for the Repsol Honda squad for 2019.
Then, just as it looked as if Marquez might run away with the title well before the halfway mark of the season, Lorenzo continued to rediscover his swagger.
It looked as if it was the Lorenzo of old, the same who chalked up five World Championship titles with his trademark metronomic consistency.
Lorenzo followed up his breakthrough win at Mugello with another at the next race in Catalunya in front of his home crowd, this time from pole position – his first on the GP18.
The 2019 season will mark new beginnings for the Spaniard and expectations will be high as he joins the Honda factory team, and current champion Marquez.