The home hero, who grew up just ten miles from the Misano circuit, suddenly sat up and began cruising back to the pits while holding fourth position. Rossi was using the new Yamaha engine with pneumatic valves.

Rossi began the race 60 points behind Ducati's Casey Stoner in the world championship standings. Stoner currently leads the race from Rizla Suzuki team-mates Chris Vermeulen and John Hopkins.

Also out are Dani Pedrosa and Randy de Puniet, who tangled at the second turn and pushed Pedrosa's Repsol Honda team-mate Nicky Hayden into the gravel in the process.