Dani Pedrosa apologised to the Repsol Honda Team for a first lap fall at Phillip Island, which looks to have cost the Spaniard any chance of second in the 2008 MotoGP World Championship standings.

Pedrosa, the 2007 world championship runner-up, arrived at the Australian Grand Prix just eleven points behind Casey Stoner - but will head for the final two rounds of the season 36 points adrift of the Australian Grand Prix winner.

The #2 got another good start to jump from sixth to third into turn one, but then lost control of his Bridgestone-shod RCV on entry to the following Southern Loop. Dani managed to regain partial control but ran wide and off the track at speed, falling heavily as he ran across the grass and hurting his left knee.

"I got a good start and was entering the second corner in third position when the rear tyre started sliding," recalled Pedrosa. "I tried to correct the bike but I ran off the track. On the grass I tried to correct the bike again but I crashed. I hurt my left knee in the fall.

"Fortunately I've not broken any bones or damaged any ligaments, but I've got a lot of pain and the knee is swollen. I am very disappointed because we knew we had a good race pace and I was very confident that I could score another podium, just like at Motegi last weekend.

"It was another bad race. I made a mistake and I am sorry for the team, they worked hard throughout the weekend," he stated. "Tonight I will fly back to Spain and rest the injury while looking forward to the Malaysia GP. Now it's looking difficult for second place in the championship, there are only two races left."

"Sometimes racing is like this, but I'm sorry for Dani because he had a good race pace," added team manager Kazuhiko Yamano. "He didn't have good grip at the start, he made a mistake and crashed. But Dani understands what happened, so I'm sure that he will be back even stronger in Malaysia and fight for a good result."

Michelin-shod team-mate Nicky Hayden finished third.