Phillip Island, Australia:Valentino Rossi injured his neck and will need intensive physiotherapy to compete in Sunday's Australian MotoGP after a tumble late in qualifying.
The newly-crowned world champion was thrown awkwardly from his Fiat Yamaha on Saturday and landed heavily on to his neck leaving him well down in 12th spot on qualifying times for the Phillip Island race.
The six-time premier class world champion ran on to the grass approaching turn three on his 21st lap and wrestled to keep his bike upright in trackside gravel.
The Italian superstar got to his haunches but appeared shaken and was taken to his team garage on the back of a track marshal's bike to be checked over by medical personnel.
A team spokesman said Rossi suffered slight whiplash and some muscle damage to his neck and returned to the track with minutes left in the session for a testing lap to assess his condition.
Rossi, 29, who has not won in Australia for the last two years, will now have to start off the fourth row of the grid in the Phillip Island GP with Australian Casey Stoner favorite to repeat his 2007 race win off pole position.
"I was pushing a lot with the qualifying tyre but unfortunately I went too wide at turn two and I came on to the grass on the exit," Rossi said.
"I thought I could take the bike back on to the track but as soon as I touched the muddy grass I lost control and I couldn't stop it.
"Then I bumped my head and neck pretty hard when I landed in the gravel."
Rossi said he would have treatment overnight on his stiff neck and rest in his hotel room in an attempt to fit to race on Sunday.
"Tomorrow I am sure I will feel a lot better. We have good tyres and a good set-up so I will try to ride a good race."
The last time Rossi missed starting off the front row in Australia was back in 2002, when he qualified seventh and came through to win the race.
Rossi won five consecutive premier class races at Phillip Island from 2001 to 2005, but has missed out in the last two races here.