Hay-day for Nicky, Rossi down and out
Curtailing a seven point deficit Nicky Hayden looked down and out in terms of gaining the championship, and it now seemed that Valentino Rossi would go onto retain an eight World Championship title! In qualifying Rossi planted his Camel Yamaha on pole position, spreading a pair of ducati’s in Troy Bayliss and Loris Capirossi between himself and championship rival Nicky Hayden who lay fourth on the grid.
Brolly Dollies, generators and tyre warmers where whisked off the grid as it was time for the final 990cc Moto-GP EVER to get underway! Bayliss blasted off the line to lead the pack through turn one having blitzed opposition in this years World Superbike Championship to take the crown. Interestingly this was Bayliss’s first weekend back in Moto-GP for 2006, having only stepped on the bike for the first time two days prior to racing!
Caption for pic “In order for Hayden to clinch the title, Rossi would have to finish 3rd, and he, win the race.”
Rossi suffered a mediocre start dropping down into 5th position, and gradually down to 7th through a few corners more. Blasting from the docks was Nicky Hayden, who held an advantage in fourth place though would have to catch the Ducati Duo of Bayliss and Capirossi, who held the One-Two positions in any attempt at reeling in the world title.
Unforeseen was Championship Leader Rossi’s huge error on lap five whilst leant over mid corner. The young Italian lost the front end of his Camel Yamaha, sending his 2006 title hopes into the gravel and out of contention. Despite the off a desperate Rossi remounted in hope of retaining some points, it was not yet over by Rossi’s standards. Uncharacteristically the Italian had seemed edgy throughout morning warm-up, having only posted an eleventh quickest time in the untimed practice. Turned on its Heels, the advantage now lay with Hayden how rode amazingly, even under the serious pressure of having the world title within immediate reach.
Almost overlooking the battle for honours at front having witnessed the title drama unfold, Troy Bayliss had extended his lead to an incredible two-seconds over part-time team mate Loris Cappirossi. In search of his first ever Moto GP victory, Bayliss a man on a mission, held his own to the line and braced a superb win. Capirossi followed home in second place making it a one two for Marlboro Ducati, whilst we all waited in awe for that #69 Honda of Nicky Hayden to blast out onto home straight. A glimpse in the distance of the orange and blue Repsol livery through the final curve ensured it was finally here, the dawn of a new World Moto GP champion! Bracing the chequered flag, Kentucky Kid Hayden raised his arms in disbelief, having earlier almost accepted Rossi’s title retaining yet again. Followed by an emphatic display of emotion, Hayden pursued to smoke the back tyre, wheelie and celebrate in true championship winning style!
Fourth went to Hayden’s Team-mate Dani Pedrosa, with Marco Melandri and Toni Elias rounding out the top six finishers.
Championship Table Result:
1*Nicky Hayden* 252 Repsol Honda
2Valentino Rossi 247 Camel Yamaha
3Loris Capirossi 229 Marlboro Ducati
4Marco Melandri 228 Fortuna Honda
5Dani Pedrosa 215 Repsol Honda
6Kenny Roberts Jnr 134 KR Honda
-Casey Stoner will replace Sete Gibernau at Marlboro Ducati for 2007. The 21 year-old Aussie will ride in Marlboro dress alongside Loris Capirossi for the 2007 Moto GP season.
-In a recent 800cc test at Valencia where all riders tried their 2007 machines, Dani Pedrosa came out on top of the time sheets onboard the Repsol Honda RC212V 800cc. Second place went to a flying Chris Vermeuelen with John Hopkins in third place! Suzuki title contender next year? World champ Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi lay 6th an 7th within the overall standings.
-Alex Barros will return to Moto GP after a frustrating year within the World Superbike category. He will ride for the satellite Pramac Dantin Ducati team.
-Sete Gibernau left out in the cold? We await to see a decision in the 33 year olds racing future, sources close to Gibernau may suggest a possible retirement from the sport.