Dorna Day 3 Report
|In another incredible race of what
has been an amazing season, Nicky Hayden achieved motorcycling’s
ultimate accolade of being crowned MotoGP World Champion. The
American star’s third place, coupled with Valentino Rossi’s early
crash, gave Hayden his first ever MotoGP title at the Gran Premio
bwin.com de la Comunitat Valenciana in a race won by Ducati stand-in
Starting from fifth on the grid, the Repsol Honda rider laid his chips down early, pulling away from the grid and veering sharply to the right and nearly touching Rossi, who led him by eight points ahead of the final race. By lap seven Hayden was in a comfortable third, a position he stuck in until reaching the chequered flag.
In the pre-race press conference, Hayden had been insistent that Rossi was not a “choke artist,” but that he needed a bad day from the Camel Yamaha rider to take the title. It was an uncharacteristic error on lap four that proved to be Rossi’s undoing, as he lowsided his Yamaha M1 and was unable to make up enough points upon rejoining the race. The Italian eventually finished thirteenth.
With all the focus on the overall classification, the fantastic achievement of Troy Bayliss could easily be overlooked. The Australian rider was standing in for the injured Sete Gibernau to finish the journey of the Ducati Desmosedici 990cc bike which he started back in 2003, and did so in style by leading from the first corner on his 50th Grand Prix appearance. Bayliss took the early holeshot and was untroubled by team-mate Loris Capirossi, who finished second, as he earned first ever MotoGP win. Capirossi also had reason to celebrate when he crossed the line, taking third place in the championship from compatriot Marco Melandri.
Dani Pedrosa was alongside Hayden for the second race in a row, but this time there was no reason for friction between the two riders. On the second lap the Spaniard took a wide line to let his team-mate through, and did a sterling job of keeping the rest of the field away from Hayden.
Immediately behind Pedrosa were two other Honda riders, Marco Melandri and Toni Elias. A top six finish tops off a good year for Melandri, who just missed out on third spot in the overall standings, and continues Toni Elias’ run of good form which culminated in victory two weeks ago in Portugal.
Shinya Nakano was seventh in his final ride for Kawasaki, ahead of Kenny Roberts Jr, Colin Edwards and Carlos Checa.
Hayden becomes the first rider apart from Rossi to win a MotoGP World Title since 2000, before the championship was run on 990cc four-stroke machines. On that occasion it was compatriot Kenny Roberts Jr. and Hayden joins him as the seventh American to win a MotoGP World Championship.
MotoGP will be run on 800cc machinery next season, and the first race will take place at Qatar on March 10th, 2007.
Jorge Lorenzo clinched his maiden 250cc World Title at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia with fourth place in an action packed Grand Prix. The Fortuna Aprilia rider has been the dominant figure in an exciting season for the quarter litre category, and only had to finish ahead of Andrea Dovizioso to take the crown. However, the gripping action in the race centred not on the title battle, but an epic three-way duel which ended in Alex de Angelis’ first ever Grand Prix win.
The San Marino rider completed a marvellous day for the Valencia-based Master MVA Aspar Team, who had already tasted victory in the 125cc class. Having trailed the phenomenal Roberto Locatelli the majority of the race, he took advantage of an unforced error by the Japanese rider which saw the KTM rider crash out and Locatelli briefly run off track to break away. Aoyama’s failure to finish also gives de Angelis third place in the championship.
Locatelli was nothing short of incredible from the start, powering round the outside to take his umpteenth holeshot of the season. The Team Toth rider earned his highest place of a 2006 season where he has also taken the prize for best privateer.
Valencia’s very own Hector Barbera completed the top three at his home race despite being slow off the line, heading a trio of Fortuna Aprilia riders. New World Champion Jorge Lorenzo placed himself in the middle of Barbera and the returning Alex Debon, who did a great job of holding off Lorenzo’s last remaining title challenger Andrea Dovizioso, who himself was beaten on the last few laps by Shuhei Aoyama. The Japanese rider’s sixth place, combined with Marco Simoncelli’s tumble on lap ten, confirmed the Japanese rider as this season’s best rookie.
Manuel Poggiali, David de Gea and Sylvain Guintoli completed the top ten for the final race of the 250cc season.
Hector Faubel started the day’s proceedings at Cheste with a popular home victory, kicking off the most important day of the 2006 season in style. On the Master MVA Aspar team’s home turf, Faubel was first past the chequered flag with a near two second advantage over Mika Kallio. It was a special day for Red Bull KTM’s Finnish star as well, racing his final 125cc Grand Prix and pipping another local youngster, Sergio Gadea, to the line to take second.
Alvaro Bautista, who had dropped down from pole to finish fourth, finished off the podium for only the second time this season, but still took time after the race to celebrate his memorable season. The Spaniard let off a Valencian “mascleta” firework on the track after finishing ahead of Lukas Pesek and Pol Espargaro.
Despite finishing an impressive sixth, Pol Espargaro was just beaten to the Rookie of the Year title by Bradley Smith, who came in 12th. Pablo Nieto, Gabor Talmacsi, Mattia Pasini and Thomas Luthi completed the top ten.