Valentino Rossi crashed out of a dramatic Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi, postponing his chance to wrap up the world championship.
From the start it was Marco Melandri who led the race, with Max Biaggi and Loris Capirossi chasing hard. By the end of the fourth lap Rossi had caught the leading trio, despite starting from third on the grid. By this time the battle for the lead was down to Biaggi and Capirossi.
Having moved up from 11th to fourth Rossi then collided with Melandri going into turn ten of the circuit and ending the race for both riders.
At the front, Capirossi stalked the factory Honda of Biaggi before finally making his move and opening up a 1.4 second lead to take the first win for himself, Ducati and Bridgestone in 2005. Makoto Tamada took third behind Biaggi.
Despite not finishing, Rossi's title hopes haven't altered, with only eleven riders finishing the race. Both Alex Barros and Sete Gibernau crashed out, meaning the only rider to really benefit in the title challenge was Max Biaggi, who must still score 14 points more than Rossi in the next race at Sepang. Despite a complaint lodged against Rossi for ther crash, it was rejected by Race Direction, and the Italian will just need a top four finish in Malaysia.
Other non-finishers included Shinya Nakano, Tohru Ukawa, Roberto Rolfo, Naoki Matsudo and Alex Hoffmann, whose broken ankle will rule him out for the rest of the season.
Motegi MotoGP result:
DNF: Melandri. Rossi. Barros. Gibernau. Nakano. Ukawa. Rolfo. Hofmann. Matsudo.
Motegi 250cc result:
Hiroshi Aoyama and Dani Pedrosa took a one-two for the Movistar Honda team in a race as dramatic as the MotoGP event. Jorge Lorenzo earnt himself a one race ban for attempting to pass Alex De Angelis and Dani Pedrosa in one move. The ambitious attempt ended with retirement for Lorenzo, and De Angelis recovering to take seventh. It was Casey Stoner who benefitted from the incident by taking third which he held to the line. Britain's Chaz Davies failed to finish.
5. De Puniet.
7. De Angelis.
DNF: Lorenzo. Sekiguchi. Porto. Ballerini. Davies. Aoyama. West. Locatelli. Vincent. Yokoe. Smrz.
125cc Motegi result:
11. Di Meglio.
14. Kuzuhara. T
16. De Rosa.
22. Kuzuhara. H
DNF: Talmacsi. Pesek. Giuseppetti. Simoncelli. Hommel. Tunez. Iwata. Pirro. Cortese. Bonache. Simon.