Casey Stoner left Valentino Rossi with one hand on the MotoGP world title after he crashed out of the lead for the second successive race in Misano today.
The Aussie is now 75-points adrift of the Italian after he lost the front of his factory Ducati while nearly three seconds clear on lap six.
Once again Stoner completely dominated the weekend, only to fall short on race day as his crash followed a seventh successive pole position.
The 22-year-old though blamed a tyre issue for his early demise.
"It is very disappointing for the weekend to end like this after showing such a high level of performance in practice. Basically we took the decision to put one lap on the race tyre in warm-up this morning to get it scrubbed in: we've done it before and not had a problem but today I could feel from the first lap that the grip wasn't right.
"After a few laps it started to feel better and I was gaining confidence but it let go. It's a real shame but, anyway, we tried hard here and once again I think we've shown we are very fast, we have a great bike and tyres that work fantastically. This gives me confidence for next year and I'm looking forward to it already.”
Stoner refused to blame the recurrence of an old wrist injury for his problems.
Suffering from a reopened break in his left scaphoid, Stoner added: “As for the injury, it's huge disappointment this problem came out but I'll have to wait until the end of the season for an operation."