James Toseland's dream of giving the 88,000 fans at Donington a British finisher on the podium in the MotoGP race were dashed to the ground on the first corner of the race when he fell from his Tech 3 Yamaha.
The bike's rear wheel spun out when he closed the throttle – a risk on the highly-strung 800cc machines – and he was cast on to the grass at Redgate corner. The Yorkshireman bravely remounted, but could only circulate in 17th and last place, a lap behind the leaders.
Casey Stoner won his second consecutive British Grand Prix on his Marlboro Ducati, and revived the Italian factory's hopes of retaining its MotoGP crown. After seven difficult races Stoner's engineers have devised software that gives him a more controllable exit from corners, and the 22-year-old Australian celebrated by coasting to a five-second victory. "The weekend has been a big step forward," he said. "Now I can have fun on the bike without making mistakes."
Championship leader Valentino Rossi quickly realised that he had no answer for Stoner on this day, and settled for securing second place on his Fiat Yamaha from his closest title challenger, Dani Pedrosa on the Repsol Honda. "I was fast, but not enough," Rossi said. "In some parts of the track I was losing too much time. Casey is not out of the game, for sure."
Rossi now takes an 11-point lead over Pedrosa to the ninth round in Holland in only five days. Stoner is 45 points behind Rossi, but suddenly appears to have the ideal package in this fascinating season as the contest rages between the trio.
Jorge Lorenzo, the 21-year-old Spaniard who has survived two broken ankles and five crashes in four races, bounced back to pass seven riders on the opening lap, and 11 in the whole of the 30-lap race, to finish sixth after a last-row start and secure fourth place in the championship.