The Repsol Honda rider converted pole into an early lead on the wet but drying surface, before dropping back to fourth from laps 3 to 13. The Spaniard then began to move up the order as Marco Melandri and Casey Stoner pitted ahead of him - but it counted for nothing when the 21-year-old was thrown from his RCV at the final turn on lap 15 of 24.

"I don't really know what happened, the back just snapped around even before I had given any throttle," said Pedrosa, who had dominated the dry practice and qualifying sessions. "With hindsight, perhaps I should have come into the pits a little earlier, but that's an easier call to make now than at the time. The more worrying thing for me right now is that it feels like I have broken a bone in my left foot. I will have more x-rays and really hope I'm fit for the next race in Australia."

"Before the race it was decided with Dani that the timing of the bike change would be the rider's choice," explained team manager Makoto Tanaka. "It was unfortunate that he crashed just before coming in and I think in the same circumstances we would bring him in earlier next time."

Pedrosa will now miss Monday's Motegi test and return home for further scans to determine if he has indeed fractured a bone in his left foot.

Three rounds of the 2007 MotoGP World Championship remain, starting with the Australian Grand Prix on October 14. Pedrosa is currently third in the championship, 26 points behind Valentino Rossi.

 

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