The battle for the 2022 MotoGP title went all the way to the final race of the season in Valencia, with Francesco Bagnaia eventually able to celebrate his first premier class crown.
Needing only to finish inside the top 14 at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo to make sure of glory, Italian Bagnaia came through a few hairy moments to end up in ninth place, with title rival Fabio Quartararo only able to finish in fourth.
That left Bagnaia as the champion by a 17-point margin, becoming the first champion from Italy since the legendary Valentino Rossi in 2009.
Of double satisfaction for Ducati ace Bagnaia was the fact that he also became the first Italian to be crowned world champion on a bike from his homeland since the also legendary Giacomo Agostini in 1972.
Indeed, since 1974, he is only the second rider to have triumphed for a non-Japanese manufacturer, with Australian Casey Stoner having won the title for Ducati in 2007.
|What||2023 MotoGP season|
|Where||21 races spread across the globe|
|When||26th March - 26th November|
|How to watch||BT Sport|
2018 Moto2 champion Bagnaia appeared to have little or no chance of mounting a serious title challenge after crashing out on lap three of the race in Germany in mid-June, with Yamaha star Quartararo taking the chequered flag to extend his championship lead.
A 91-point gap existed between the two riders at that point and few would have predicted the turnaround which occurred in the second half of the season, especially with Bagnaia suffering off-track issues to boot.
However, the 25-year-old Turin native would go on to win the next four races to roar back into contention and the momentum would remain with Bagnaia for the remainder of the season.
Victory in Malaysia in the penultimate GP of the campaign would all but seal the deal, with Bagnaia able to just make sure he finished the race in Valencia to claim the championship.
Reigning champion Quartararo appeared to be well on course to retain his title at the halfway point of the season, but suffered a shocking loss of form as the race ticked by and was eventually unable to deny Bagnaia.
And the Frenchman had been warned, with Bagnaia winning four of the final six races of the 2021 schedule to show that he was capable of stringing the victories together.
The first ten races of 2022 saw Quartararo claim three wins and three other podium finishes, but the next ten Grands Prix saw him fail to deliver - with his only podiums coming in Austria and Malaysia.
He will have plenty to ponder in the off-season, having also struggled during the closing weeks of the 2021 campaign, but having already done enough to take the honours by 26 points from Bagnaia.
Spaniard Aleix Espargaro looked like he might become the latest champion from his country during the first half of the season, but like Quartararo he totally lost form as time went on and would eventually finish down in fourth place in the standings.
Following four consecutive third-placed finishes, Espargaro would go on to add just one more podium to his record over the next 12 races to finish 53 points adrift of Bagnaia.
Enea Bastianini was the rider who overhauled Espargaro to end up in third place in the standings and he looks well set to mount a strong challenge for the MotoGP title next season.
The 24-year-old from Rimini claimed four victories during 2022, a tally bettered only by the six of champion Bagnaia.
The 2020 Moto2 champion made huge progress in his second campaign in the premier class of motorcycle racing and a move to become the team-mate of Bagnaia at the Ducati factory team should only see him improve further.
The 2023 season will see MotoGP carry on without Suzuki, with the Japanese manufacturer bowing out in style as Alex Rins took the victory in Valencia.
Their exit means that a number of rider moves have already been confirmed, highlighted by the promotion of Bastianini as a replacement for Australian Jack Miller, who has signed for KTM.
Miller replaces Miguel Oliveira, with the Portuguese heading to Aprilia to join the all-Spanish contingent of Maverick VInales, Espargaro and Raul Fernandez.
Next season also sees India and Kazakhstan host their first MotoGP races, while Oliveira will get to make his Aprilia bow on home soil, with the campaign getting underway at the Algarve International Circuit in late March.