The former five times MotoGP world champion, looking to conclude a disappointing season with a fifth win at the 18th and final round, was thrown from his Fiat Yamaha after it began bucking viciously when he ran wide on the exit of turn one.

Rossi held on for as long as he could but was eventually launched over the front; the Italian's factory M1 then destroyed itself in a series of cartwheels, while Rossi walked slowly away holding his right hand and clearly in considerable pain.

Valentino, who needs just one point to secure second in the 2007 world championship on Sunday, had already set a qualifying time and so will be able to enter Sunday's race - providing he is fit enough to ride.

More to follow...