His first win came in his fourth season; he added three more victories to his name in 2009 before moving to the intermediate category for the inaugural Moto2™ season in 2010.
The Italian instantly felt at home on the larger machinery and finished third overall in his debut season. His talent was clear when he battled Marc Marquez and Stefan Bradl for the title for the next two seasons, but could not better his third-place standing.
He made the switch to the premier class in 2013 with Pramac Ducati, finishing 12th overall in his rookie year and by 2014 was showing potential on the satellite Ducati with five front-row starts.
His results earned him a berth in the factory squad for the 2015 and 2016 seasons, where he celebrated seven podiums, including his maiden MotoGP™ victory that came in Austria in 2016. Despite giving Ducati its first GP win since Casey Stoner in 2010, his unpredictable racecraft meant he was shown the door.
He switched to Suzuki for the 2017 and 2018 seasons and picked up four podiums during his final year. It was not enough to secure a contract for his 2019 campaign and he signed a two-year deal with Aprilia Racing Team Gresini.