Dani Pedrosa's difficult Australian MotoGP weekend came to an early conclusion when he was hit from behind by Andrea Iannone.

The Repsol Honda star recovered from a tough practice to take fifth on the grid, rising to fourth in the early turns of the race. However he soon dropped back to ninth, in the thick of a big group fighting over fourth place.

"As usual on the opening laps I cannot push the bike or attack," said Pedrosa. "I lost five or six positons in two or three laps. It's a pity and we have to really change for the next race to do something so I am able to attack and out brake my rivals in the opening laps.

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"We can see now that I was dropping back and then I was in a place where it is very easy to get touched from another rider. At the front it is much easier to avoid these kind of problems."

The Turn Four hairpin was the scene of many attempted passes, but Iannone appeared to simply miss his braking point when he speared into the back wheel of Pedrosa's RC213V.

"When I saw it was him I was like 'normal'. He hit the rear wheel, crashed and my wheel was destroyed. It was not round anymore. After I had to stop. I had a lot of vibration. There was a chance to re-join but I'd already lost one lap."

Iannone explained: "I started very well but because of a contact with another rider I went wide at the first corner and I lost a lot of positions. Unfortunately when you are forced to a come back you must take more risks. The crash was caused not only by me be braking very hard but also due to the first gear not shifting in. I'm sorry I didn't finish the race and I'm also sorry for stopping Pedrosa's race."

Without the incident, Pedrosa feels he had a chance of challenging for the podium.

"Of course I was in a bad position early on, but looking afterwards with so many crashes right up to the last lap maybe on the podium. But some races are like this and you never know how it is going to turn out."

Although his accident was clearly caused by another rider, race leading team-mate Marc Marquez was among a series of high-profile riders to fall after losing the front under braking.

Pedrosa felt the late timing of the race, to help fit in with European TV audiences, had been a factor in those incidents.

"I think [the front tyre incidents] were more related to the hour that we raced and from 4:20-4:30pm the track starts to be very cold and everybody started crashing," said Pedrosa, who like the other Honda riders and Factory Ducati team ran the new asymmetric front tyre.

"You can choose of course the extra soft front, like Rossi. Maybe it worked for him. But with the same bike and a smoother race style Lorenzo destroyed it, so it's a gamble sometimes. And of course this is a very tough track for tyres."

With both Marquez and Pedrosa failing to finish Honda's lead in the Constructors' championship has been cut to 45 points and Repsol Honda's advantage to 40 points in the Teams' standings.

"I hope that in Malaysia I can do a good race, trying to bring a good result for Honda and the team because with Marc and me off today and a Yamaha one-two, they have caught up a lot in the Constructors' and the Teams' championship.

"So we hope to bring a good solid result for the last two races and stay on top of the championship."

Pedrosa's DNF means he has now dropped from joint second in the Riders' championship with Valentino Rossi, to fourth place and 25 points behind the Italian, who won Sunday's race from team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.

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To be fair to Iannone, he has calmed down a lot this year and I can't recall him narfing off another rider this season. He made an error of judgement and that was it. He was hardly alone at PI was he?
As for Pedrosa, I have to agree with a number of posters in that he seems to have lost the spark / motivation. It used to be the case in the past that he was always fastest off the line and tended to be caught near the end of the race. Nowadays he just can't seem to do that and there hasn't been injury concerns this year unlike previous seasons.
I think the realisation has struck home that there is a constant stream of faster, younger guys coming through the ranks and he is just not destined to be MotoGP world champion.
I suspect that 2015 will be his final season and then retirement. Even so he is 8th in the all-time list of GP winners so his career is none too shabby.