Hopkins, a star in the opening stages, collected fifth - where he had started - while Rossi's team-mate Colin Edwards, who came within one corner of victory at Assen last season, crossed the line two seconds behind the #21.
Pramac d'Antin's Alex Barros
was a lonely seventh, while team-mate Alex Hofmann
won a thrilling four-rider fight for eighth ahead of Kawasaki's new recruit Anthony West, plus the satellite Hondas of Melandri and Carlos Checa.
MotoGP's 2007 pole curse continued this afternoon with Vermeulen not only failing to win, but lucky to survive an over-optimistic move by Randy de Puniet. The Kawasaki rider, whose front row start counted for nothing after a poor getaway, lunging for the inside of Vermeulen's seventh placed Suzuki on lap 12.
Unfortunately, the Frenchman didn't get alongside and when Vermeulen inevitably turned-in the pair collided hard. Randy was sent up and over his ZX-RR, while Chris amazingly stayed on two wheels - but was forced off track and rejoined 16th, where he eventually finished.
The other non-finisher was Stoner's factory Ducati team-mate Loris Capirossi, who pulled into the pits on lap 18.
After two races in six days, MotoGP will now take a weekend off before round ten of the championship, the German Grand Prix at Sachsenring - which Rossi will start 21 points behind Stoner, but with exactly half of the 18 rounds still to go.