Valentino Rossi's race and world championship hopes ended with a fall from second place in Sunday's Japanese MotoGP.

The Italian, who had qualified on pole, overtook Movistar Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo a lap earlier and was pushing hard to try and catch leader Marc Marquez.

But Rossi's front wheel folded at the slow hairpin on lap 7 of 24, sending the Doctor sliding into the gravel and leaving him to ponder a fourth non-score of the season.

"First of all, I would like to say that I'm OK, fortunately no problems," said Rossi, who was momentarily trapped under his bike, "On the other hand it's a shame, because I was quite strong and I had a good pace.

"Unfortunately my start was not fantastic and I lost positions to Marquez and Lorenzo. After that, Marquez was a bit faster than me to overtake Lorenzo, I lost a bit more time behind Lorenzo, but the pace was good.

"I was able to push a lot to try and catch Marquez but unfortunately I lost the front. Sincerely, I felt nothing - not too fast, too wide or too deep - but I lost the front and logically I made a mistake."

Rossi and Lorenzo - like most of the grid - chose the medium front and soft rear tyre combination.

When Lorenzo also fell, in the closing stages, it confirmed Marquez as champion with three races still to go.

Rossi and Lorenzo head to next weekend's Phillip Island round separated by 14 points in the fight to be title runner-up behind Marquez.



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