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Marlboro Ducati's Casey Stoner could have handed the MotoGP title to Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi at Misano this afternoon, crashing out of the lead on lap seven while holding a three-second advantage.

Rossi now has a 75-point lead over the Australian with five races of the 2008 season to go. It means that Rossi must suffer at least one non-finish in order for Stoner to retain his title.

Stoner's crash looked identical to one in Brno two weeks ago when his footpeg dug into the tarmac and levered the front end off the ground. It is believed that the Ducati team gave the Desmosedici more ground clearance in order to stop it happening.


Stoner was riding with an aggravated scaphoid injury in his left hand which meant he was in pain. It was re-injured when Stoner reached to sort out his back protector on Friday.
Rossi, who took his 68th GP victory and equalled Giacomo Agostini's win record, will still be leading the championship before the Australian round.
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa, who will switch to Bridgestone tyres from Monday, has closed to within two points of Stoner in the championship table after taking a fourth place.

Rossi's Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo finished in second place with Alice Ducati's Toni Elias in third - his second consecutive podium.

Britain's James Toseland equalled his best finish of sixth place after a battle with Chris Vermeulen and Andrea Divizioso. The Australian came through the field and went past Toseland for fifth with seven laps to go.

Toseland was also under pressure from the other Rizla Suzuki of Loris Capirossi and looked to have a shot rear tyre with two laps to go. The Tech3 Yamaha rider managed to fend off Capirossi as Dovizioso tried to get past the pair of them. He kept his sixth place across the line.
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