MotoGP: Steve Parrish on Dani Pedrosa's rotten weekend
Dani Pedrosa must be wondering just what he did to deserve his shocker of a race day in Misano.
After qualifying in pole position, Pedrosa went into Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix just 13 points behind title rival Jorge Lorenzo and very much the man in form after winning the previous two races.
But after a disastrous run of events, Pedrosa leaves a huge 38 points behind Lorenzo with only five races remaining.
- Jorge Lorenzo (Spa): 270 points
- Dani Pedrosa (Spa): 232
- Casey Stoner (Aus): 186
- Andrea Dovizioso (Ita): 163
- Cal Crutchlow (GB): 122
Maybe he is destined to always be the runner-up, as you have to now make Lorenzo a huge favourite to regain the crown he won in 2010.
We have been saying all season that this championship could come down to who makes the fewest mistakes - and while it wasn't his fault he didn't finish, Pedrosa has been punished in lethal style by Lorenzo.
Pedrosa ultimately crashed out on lap one when he was bowled off by Hector Barbera, but his troubles started before that in one of the most bizarre starts to a race I have ever seen.
First of all the original start was cancelled because of Karel Abraham stalling, which is a very rare occurrence, and then Pedrosa had a problem with his bike on the grid. It all conspired to produce disaster.
His team managed to solve the problem with his front brakes, but not before pushing his bike off the grid.
Once you do that, you have to start from the back of the grid. Whereas, given how quickly they then seemed to resolve the problem, you suspect that if they had persisted a few seconds longer on the grid, he may still have been able to start from the front.
That, of course, would have meant he would not have been mingling with Barbera in midfield and I truly think that Pedrosa would have won this weekend without that crash.
He looked good, he is in terrific form and he could have been looking at a single-figure deficit in the championship after this race.
As it is, the lead is now massive for Lorenzo. It means he can finish second and even if Pedrosa wins every race it will not be enough.
Dani Pedrosa in MotoGP
- 2006: Two wins, eight podiums, 215 points, 5th overall
- 2007: Two wins, eight podiums, 242 points, 2nd overall
- 2008: Two wins, 11 podiums, 249 points, 2nd overall
- 2009: Two wins, 11 podiums, 234 points, 3rd overall
- 2010: Four wins, nine podiums, 245 points, 2nd overall
- 2011: Three wins, nine podiums, 219 points, 4th overall
It is a real shame for the championship.
Valentino Rossi did a good job to come second - sending the fans at his home race mad - and I'm hoping he has turned a corner here.
We have not seen him so close to the front for practically two years and he had that real desire back in his eyes.
It's a good sign for the rest of the season and also for next year, when he will be on the same bike as Lorenzo and may be back challenging more regularly.
With Casey Stoner retiring, the sport needs an on-song Rossi and maybe we saw the first signs this weekend that he can be a force again.
Steve Parrish was talking to BBC Sport's Tom Rostance