Toni Elias saw his early progress up the Japanese Grand Prix order count for nothing when he crashed from eighth position on lap six of 24.
After waiting patiently for his tyres to heat up, the San Carlo Honda Gresini rider had been working his way forwards from tenth at the end of lap one, passing Loris Capirossi and James Toseland on consecutive laps before closing the gap to Marco Melandri.
However, taking a wide line into the hairpin before the back straight, Elias ran across a dirty section of track and both tyres lost grip as he braked into the corner, causing a low speed crash. Elias remounted his factory Honda to finish 15th.
“I'm very disappointed,” said the Spaniard. “I caught the group that Melandri and Vermeulen were in but just when I had done all the hard work I had a stupid crash. I got on the dirty part on the outside of the track and lost grip on the front and rear under braking.
“That's the most disappointing thing because I had the opportunity to pick up some important points and I threw it away. Looking at the positives, I finished the race and picked up a point, which is something, and we have improved the bike here, which should help us in future races,” he added.
Team-mate Alex de Angelis struggled with rear grip issues throughout the race and lost twelfth place to Colin Edwards three laps from the end.
“We had some problems on Friday and missed our only opportunity to get the bike set up for dry conditions, which was an unfortunate circumstance that we paid the price for today. I went for a hard front and rear tyre but it clearly didn't work with the set-up we had and I had no feeling from the tyres or the suspension today,” said the San Marinese. “Three points isn't much but it's better than nothing.”