Already struggling with food poisoning, Ben Spies' Japanese MotoGP hopes took a further turn for the worst when he was bumped off track by Valentino Rossi at turn two of the race (pictured).
Factory Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was also involved in the incident, but escaped unscathed.
“We had a great start and the bike was feeling really good. I was in a perfect position coming out of turn three, right behind Dovi when I was hit from the back," recalled Spies.
"I lost one hand off the handlebar and didn't have much control going into the gravel trap. I tried to slow the bike as much as I could before tipping over."
The Texan rejoined a distant 17th and last, but pushed hard and took advantage of mishaps and penalties for other riders to reach sixth place at the finish.
"When I got back on track I knew there were a couple of slower guys out there so we could probably get some points. I got my head down and pushed and thought a top ten was possible" he said.
"The groups kept coming back to me and the lap times were good so we got a good result considering.
"It's unfortunate because I really think if we had clear track and started well we could have been in 46s all race long and battled for the podium. That's racing, it sucks but there you go. I'm not going to blame anybody it's just a shame, we'll move on.”
Spies is fifth in the world championship, but now 39 points behind Motegi winner Dani Pedrosa with three rounds to go.