Superbikers do it better! World Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss (center) takes the top step of the podium at Valencia between team mate Loris Capirossi and the new 2006 MotoGP World Champion, American Nicky Hayden.
2006 MotoGP World Championship, Portuguese Grand Prix at Valencia, Round 17 of 17
Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss Leads a Ducati MotoGP 1-2 at Valencia
Rossi's Crash Hands MotoGP World Championship to Hayden
Valencia, Spain, Oct 25-28th -In another incredible race of what has been an amazing season, Nicky Hayden achieved motorcycling’s ultimate accolade of being crowned the 2006 MotoGP World Champion. The American star’s third place, coupled with an early lap crash by points leader Valentino Rossi, 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 and reigning World Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss.
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.
Troy Bayliss (12) runs away from Nicky (69) and the best of MotoGP in fron tof 125,000 fans!
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.
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.
Team strategy at Yamaha worked for Rossi and Edwards 2 weeks ago at Estoril to give them the Championship points lead and assured that Colin would be resigned by the team for next year. There certainly wasn no stragety in place atHonda's Hayden and Pedrosa.
Preview: The MotoGP Season Title Showdown at Valencia
One of the most exciting seasons in the history of the MotoGP World Championship reaches an intense climax this weekendas Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden (Honda) go head-to-head for the title in a final-round shootout at Valencia. The amphitheatre-style surroundings of the Ricardo Tormo circuit on the outskirts of the Spanish city provide the perfect stage for the ultimate instalment of a 17-round epic that began on the Iberian peninsular in less than perfect fashion for Camel Yamaha rider Rossi nine months ago.
Since being knocked from his bike in the first corner of the first race at Jerez, the Italian has been through virtually every emotion known to a motorcycle racer. A dramatically unpredictable season of twists and turns has seen Rossi visit the gravel traps, the hospital and the top step of the podium in almost equal measures, with technical problems also robbing him of vital points in the first half of the season. However, since finding himself a massive 51 points behind Hayden after round eleven at Laguna Seca, the five-time World Champion has shown his true colours with a string of five consecutive podium finishes.
His latest, second place in the Grand Prix of Portugal at Estoril, coupled with a crash for Hayden, finally lifted him above the American to the top of the standings for the first time this season and opened up an eight-point gap between the pair with one round to go. It means that for the first time in fourteen seasons the destiny of the MotoGP World Championship will be decided in the final round, with the drama set to unfold in front of a sell-out crowd in excess of 120,000 people in the firecracker atmosphere of Cheste.
Colin Edwards will once again be looking to play the role of good team-mate after his star performance at Estoril just over a week ago. The Texan was back to his best form in Portugal, qualifying second on the grid and providing a crucial helping hand to Rossi in the early stages of the race - only to narrowly miss out on his second rostrum of the season as he took fourth place at the line. This weekend Edwards' clear objective is to go at least one position better and make sure he is celebrating alongside Rossi on Sunday evening.
Valentino Rossi: My one chance
Valentino Rossi travels to Spain this week knowing that he cannot afford to let this incredible opportunity slip after admitting that a fifth title defence was effectively out of his hands just five rounds ago. Hayden's well-publicised misfortune in Portugal has perhaps overshadowed the fact that it is Rossi's own form - a run of nine top-three finishes from the last eleven races - that has propelled him to the top of the standings and fulfilled his target of arriving at the final round with a sixth consecutive premier-class title in sight.
"Things went very well for us in Estoril - we've achieved our goal of coming here still fighting for the championship and for this I have to thank everyone in the team so much," says Rossi. "Each person has worked at 100% to bring us back to this position and now we're all very excited about this final race. Of course it's not going to be like other times, when I have won the championship with some races to spare and less pressure. Now I only have one chance. It's a big pressure for everyone but it's great for the show.
"Valencia isn't one of my best tracks and we also know that Hayden is really strong there, so it's definitely not going to be easy. On the other hand we know that the M1 works quite well there and in the race last year it was very good in the second half of the race especially. If we can start from the front then I think we can try for the win, but whatever happens it's going to be a really exciting race. Hopefully Colin and I can be at the front together like in Estoril and we'll just see what we can do!"
Colin Edwards: A team player
Colin Edwards says his number one aim this weekend is to help out his great friend and team-mate Valentino Rossi in his quest to win the title. The best way to do that, of course, is for the Texan to keep his excellent form going and continue with the recent progress the pair have made with the set-up of their YZR-M1 machines. Edwards' attitude is a reflection of a tight team ethic at Camel Yamaha and it is something he hopes will pay dividends when the chequered flag greets the 2006 MotoGP World Champion on Sunday.
"I'm pretty excited about the last race of the season, it's going to be pretty close I reckon," says Edwards. "Estoril worked out well for the team and I was able to help Valentino out, which was the number one aim. Obviously I was disappointed not to be on the podium but my bike worked great and I think that we're in good shape to do it all again at Valencia."
"I've raced at Valencia for years so I know it really well and I know I am quite fast there. Like in Estoril, the aim is going to be to get on the front row alongside Valentino and then just to help him out in the race as much as possible. Of course this time out I want to be on the podium too, a Yamaha one-two would be the perfect end to the season!"
Davide Brivio: The final push
For Camel Yamaha Team Director Davide Brivio the Grand Prix of Portugal epitomised the togetherness and spirit shown by his riders and staff since bouncing back from the brink of failure midway through the season. With just one round remaining the Italian is asking for one final, definitive push before a well-earned break and the start of the new 800cc era in 2007.
"Since the summer break we have just taken the races one-by-one, working our hardest and keeping our focus, and the results have been excellent," reflects Brivio. "Our objective from Brno onwards was to keep fighting until the end of the season and try to get to the last round with a mathematical chance of winning the title. After Portugal that mathematical chance is a lot stronger than we expected but it is not over yet and, as we all know from our experience this season, anything can still happen.
"It looks like being another dramatic weekend but from our point of view the objective is just the same as it has been for the last five or six races - to keep our heads down, work hard and stay focused on the job of giving our riders the best possible package for Sunday. If we can do that then I'm sure Valentino and Colin will do their part too, and hopefully we can celebrate together on Sunday."
Technically speaking: Valencia according to Jeremy Burgess
With its unique stadium-style surroundings the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia is a spectacular, if somewhat cramped facility characterised by a never-ending burst of tight corners, connected by short straights. The long penultimate looping left-hander and the fast entry to turn one contrast violently with the otherwise geometric flip-flop chicanes and slow-speed corners of the infield.
"Valencia isn't one of Valentino's favourite tracks because it is so tight and twisty, but we won there in 2004 and finished third last year after starting well down the grid, so we know the M1 works well," says Jeremy Burgess, Chief Engineer to Valentino Rossi. "One of the big lessons we have learnt this season is that if you want to win in this class nowadays then you really have to start from the front so we will again be using the free practice sessions to make sure we have the right bike settings for both qualifying and the race.
"Technically there is not much to say about Valencia other than the obvious fact that it has a lot of low gear usage and very little throttle - with the back straight and the start-finish straight being the only two high speed sections. The last long left is different to any other corner in the world and it can be crucial to the outcome of the race so for that reason it requires special attention when setting the bike up to make sure you have the speed coming towards the line. The rest is slow and anti-clockwise - there's not much else to say about it really!"
Valentino Rossi: Information
Lives: London, UK
Bike: Yamaha YZR-M1
GP victories: 84 (57 x MotoGP/500cc, 14 x 250cc, 12 x 125cc)
First GP victory: Czech Republic, 1996 (125cc)
First GP: Malaysia, 1996 (125cc)
GP starts: 172 (113 x MotoGP/500cc, 30 x 250cc, 30 x 125cc)
Pole positions: 44
World Championships - 7 Grand Prix (1 x 125cc, 1 x 250cc, 1 x 500cc, 4 x MotoGP)
Colin Edwards: Information
Lives: Conroe, Texas
Bike: Yamaha YZR-M1
First GP: Japan, 2003 (MotoGP)
GP starts: 65 x MotoGP
World Championships - 2 World Superbike
Valencia Lap Record: Marco Melandri (Honda) 2004, 1'33.043
Valencia Best Lap: Sete Gibernau (Honda) 2005, 1'31.874
2005 Valencia Grand Prix Results:
1. Marco Melandri (ITA) Honda, 46'58.152
2. Nicky Hayden (USA) Honda, +0.097
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha +2.959
8. Colin Edwards (USA) Yamaha, +25.678
Valencia just might be an all Italian show with sold-out 125,000 Spectators and Capirossi toppi the time sheets on Friday aboard the Ducati.
Loris Capirossi Steals the Rossi-Hayden Thunder, Tops Valencia Friday Practice
Ducati Brings in new World Superbike Champ Bayliss to be the Spoiler
Friday 27th October - As the countdown continues for the crucial season finale in Valencia this weekend, the atmosphere surrounding the MotoGP paddock has reached new levels of anticipation. Good weather and a huge turnout added to the hustle and bustle as the riders undertook their first practice laps today.
Loris Capirossi took it upon himself to remind fans that the Gran Premio bwin.com de la Comunitat Valenciana will not be as simple a straightforward battle between Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden, topping the timesheets on the first day of practice for Sunday’s race. The Italian rode round the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in 1’32.220, ahead of two of this year’s MotoGP rookies. Randy de Puniet (Kawasaki) and Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki). Rossi and Edwards will look to close the gap as they work on further setting refinements to their YZR-M1 machines in the final free practice session tomorrow morning, before official qualifying gets underway at 2pm local time.Randy de Puniet and Chris Vermeulen completed the all-Bridgestone top three, whose fastest laps were the only ones under 1 minute 33 seconds.
Loris Capirossi, Ducati Marlboro Team, 1st, 1m 32.220s - "I'm very happy because we've worked very well today - the team is being very reactive. We totally changed the set-up for this afternoon, so the bike is now pretty competitive here. We have learned so much this season, understanding that the Desmosedici's settings needs very careful attention to work at each track. And everything we have learned this year will be crucial for the future because the GP7 chassis is very similar to the GP6 chassis. I'm happy with the new race tyres that Bridgestone have brought here. I did a run of 15 laps on the same tyres, setting the fastest pace of the day in race trim without any endurance worries. This season I have tried many different qualifying tyres and sometimes it's easy to lose your way with qualifiers, so it was good to test one today, even though it wasn't exactly what I wanted for this track. I'm very happy to have Troy as my team-mate here and I'm hoping to end the season as well as I can."
Ahead of the biggest race of his career, Nicky Hayden was less than a second off Capirossi’s blistering pace, with two more MotoGP rookies Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa completing the top six. Pedrosa knows that if he can repeat his practice performances in qualifying it would be a huge boost to team-mate Hayden’s title aspirations. The American would certainly like a repeat of today’s timesheets, as his fellow Repsol Honda rider came in ahead of World Championship leader Valentino Rossi, who took seventh.
Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi today began preparations for the race that will decide the destiny of the MotoGP World Championship title as the first free practice sessions took place at Valencia. Fans have already begun to stream into the Ricardo Tormo circuit to witness the first exchanges of what promises to be another historic chapter in this sport's great history, with bright sunshine and warm autumn temperatures of 25ºC welcoming them to the eastern coast of Spain for the final round of the season.
In the morning session Rossi and his Camel Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards helped raise the heat with a series of quick laps that left the Italian on top of the time sheets, with the American sixth fastest, over lunch. However, the pace picked up considerably in the afternoon as a number of riders tested out their qualifying rubber ahead of tomorrow afternoon's grid decider and the pair slipped down the order, with Rossi ending the day seventh fastest overall and Edwards, who was unable to improve on his best lap from the morning, down in eleventh.
Valentino Rossi (7th - 1'33.274; 51 laps) - "We found a good setting this morning and we were quite fast from the start, but this afternoon some of the others made big improvements and caught up with us! This afternoon we tried a lot of different things and quite a few tyres, trying to find the best possible package for tomorrow and Sunday. Tyres are fundamental here and its very hard on the left side of the tyre especially. This track isn't so easy and it takes time to find the right setting, but the feeling from the bike is good and in general our race pace is quite fast so we're not really worried. We've got one or two things to improve, especially in a couple of the hard braking areas, but I think if we can make just a couple of improvements then we will be able to fight at the top. For now we will stay calm and focused and tomorrow things will be clearer."
John Hopkins, Shinya Nakano and Troy Bayliss completed the top ten, the latter marking his return to MotoGP action with a time just over a second behind Ducati team-mate Capirossi. Just outside the first ten today, Colin Edwards today announced that he would be continuing for Camel Yamaha next season as team-mate to Valentino Rossi.
Today also saw the presentation of the Best Grand Prix of 2005 prize, accepted on behalf of the circuit by Mr. Alejandro Font de Mora, Minister of Culture and Sport, Valencia.
Superbike Champ Troy Bayliss Supports Capirossi at Valencia
Ducati's new 2006 Worlsd Superbike Champion , Troy Bayliss will be taking over injured Sete Giberneau's Desmosedici for the final MotoGP race at Valencia. Ironically, Casey Stoner who will be replacing Giberneau in the Ducati MotoGP team next yert, crashed into Giberneau l2 weeks at at Estoril and re broke Giberneau pinned collarbone injury where, leaving Giberneau unable to finish out the season.
Bayliss, who recently secured his second World Superbike crown with Ducati, enjoyed a warm welcome from the Ducati Marlboro Team, with which he contested the 2003 and 2004 MotoGP series. The Australian immediately felt at home, working to get the best out of the Desmosedici GP6 for its last race. Four years ago Bayliss gave the GP3 its public debut here on the occasion of the 2002 Valencia GP.
Troy Bayliss, Ducati Marlboro Team, 10th fastest, 1m 33.433s - "I'm very happy with the start I've had, considering this is my first time on Bridgestones. I haven't used a qualifier yet, so I'm doing okay. When I first went out the bike felt quite a bit different to the Superbike but after a couple of laps it felt like I've been on this bike before. Of course, a few things have changed since 2004, but it wasn't long before I felt reasonably good on it but a little bit away from perfect. Ernie (Ernesto Marinelli, Bayliss' Superbike crew chief) and myself don't know the Bridgestones, what temperature the front works best at and so on but we've got a few got a few good ideas to test tomorrow. Loris made a couple of changes this afternoon that really helped him, so now we know what to do. With Sete injured it made sense for me to come here, I want to do a good job but I'll just do what I can do."
Rossi knows when he needs to step it up.
Superbike Champ Troy Bayliss 2nd on Valencia Pole Next to Valentino!!!
Saturday 27th -
Valentino Rossi will start tomorrow’s Gran Premio bwin.com de la Comunitat Valenciana from pole position, after a storming qualifying practice in which he set a new best lap record. Rossi’s last remaining title rival, Nicky Hayden, will take off from row two knowing that he has to beat the Italian tomorrow if he is to stand any chance of taking the 2006 crown.
The final race of the season promises to be a humdinger, with the top seven setting times within half a second of each other and the Valencia circuit well known for a layout which provides tight finishes. Whilst Rossi aims for his eighth world championship, and sixth premier class title, American Hayden battles to take his first and become only the second rider ever to come from behind in the final race of the season to clinch the series.
Valentino Rossi (1st - 1'31.002; 30 laps) - "We knew we had great potential with the qualifying tyre because we tried it this morning in the free practice and then this afternoon I did three very good laps, each one better and better and then the final lap was very fast. To do a 1'31.0 was really incredible. This pole position is crucial for me because it is an important part of my race tactics to start from the front. The session couldn't have gone much better for us because we have a couple of other riders between myself and Nicky. It is a shame Colin is not one of them but he has a good race pace so hopefully he can help me out like he did at Estoril. The team has done a great job this weekend, especially with the balance of the bike. Now we need to make one or two small changes for tomorrow and then we'll just wait and see. I hope the weather will be like this - for the riders and for the fans because it looks like there will be a great crowd! Now we have the most important thirty laps of the season left to complete our target."
Superbike champ Bayliss (12) topped Ducati GP winner and former team mate Capirossi on the front row.
As at Jerez in the first race of the season, there will be two Ducatis on the front row tomorrow afternoon. Troy Bayliss, on an amazing return to MotoGP competition as a stand in for the injured Sete Gibernau, put in the second fastest time of the session to edge out team-mate Loris Capirossi. The remarkable Bayliss, who wrapped up his second World Superbike title for Ducati earlier this month, was second quickest, just two tenths off pole, even though this is his first MotoGP outing of the year. The result equalled his best-ever MotoGP grid position, achieved at Jerez in 2003. Capirossi was less than a tenth down in third place and is feeling confident for tomorrow's race in which he aims to secure third overall in the World Championship.
Both men ran up front throughout the session, setting a rapid pace on their Bridgestone race tyres, then getting the best out of their Bridgestone qualifiers. Among the supporters in the team's pit this weekend are members of the America's Cup team Luna Rossa, including skipper Francesco De Angelis, currently based at the port of Valencia.
|Troy Bayliss, 2nd fastest, 1m 31.210s - "It's been a great weekend so far, now I'd just like to finish it off with a good result. This is a great opportunity to finish the story I started with the Desmosedici in 2003 because this is the last 990cc MotoGP race, so I really appreciate getting the ride. I'm back with my old guys from this team in 2004 and I've come with a few guys from Superbikes, Ernesto Marinelli, Paolo Ciabatti and Davide Tardozzi, so I've felt at home all weekend. We expected quite a bit before we came here even though I hadn't been on this year's bike or on Bridgestone tyres. We didn't put any pressure on ourselves, we've just taken it step by step and every session we've got better. The bike and tyres are obviously working pretty good, though we'll be looking for a little more in the morning because you've never got a perfect bike. To be on the front row is so important here. Now I hope to get a good start and be part of the race."
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Loris Capirossi, 3rd fastest, 1m 31.307s - "Troy and I are like wine - the older we get the faster we get! I am very happy with the work we've done today, especially this morning when I did a semi-race simulation of 20 laps, maintaining a very good pace throughout. This afternoon I started on new race tyres and managed a 32.2 which is really good. We will have to wait and see what the conditions will be tomorrow but I think we are pretty strong because that race simulation suggests we can be fast all race. Furthermore, it's great that we are starting from the front row because overtaking here is very difficult."
Shinya Nakano was relegated to fourth after Capirossi’s last-gasp lap, racing his final Grand Prix for the Kawasaki Racing team, whilst two team-mates who have it all to do to secure an individual title line up alongside the Japanese rider.
Hayden and his Honda colleague Dani Pedrosa have a valuable two-pronged attack in their armoury, despite being down in fifth and sixth respectively. Pedrosa knows that this week he can make amends for his unfortunate accident two weeks ago in Portugal with an important contribution this weekend, especially if he can finish second in the event of a Hayden victory. Nicky briefly held pole with 15 minutes of the hour remaining – but if his race set-up proves ideal for tomorrow’s 30-lap encounter he would gladly relinquish the top grid slot in exchange for a win.
Nicky said, “We’re starting on the second row and that means I need a lightning start tomorrow. We’re definitely going all in for the win and it’ll be interesting because there are some guys going really fast out there. I need fast guys – but I don’t need them to be faster than me! I didn’t get on the front row where I needed to be which makes it a bit harder for me – and I’m not thrilled about that. I just need to focus on the race and finish the year strong – whatever happens happens.”
Casey Stoner, this morning taken to hospital after complaining of a back problem, was seventh, ahead of Suzuki riders Chris Vermeulen and John Hopkins and Colin Edwards, too far away from his Camel Yamaha team-mate on the grid to really be in a position to aid him as he did at Estoril.
Nicky Hayden is already a winner this weekend, having been presented with a BMW Z4 M Coupé as the prize for being MotoGP's best qualifier this season. BMW M President Professor Ulrich Bruhnke was on hand to hand the keys over to Hayden, with his combined qualifying time for this season's seventeen GPs and pre-season Official Test totalling 30'57.341, nearly 7 seconds ahead of the nearest challenger. Basketball legend Michael Jordan joined Hayden on laps of the track in his new car.
The entire race looked like this from lap 5 after Hayden moved up into 3rd behind Ducati team mates Bayliss (12) and Capirossi (65), and Rossi sliding out while running in 7th.
Bayliss Shows That Superbikers Do It Better
Nicky Hayden handed the MotoGP Championship after Rossi Crashes
Sunday October 29, 2006 - One of the closest MotoGP title fights ended in victory for Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) here at Valencia today as the American cruised home in third behind Ducati riders Troy Bayliss (winner) and second-placed Loris Capirossi. It was enough for the Kentucky Kid to end the reign of Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) who fell on lap five.
The tension was palpable as this all-or-nothing 30-lap contest got underway in front of a capacity 130,000 crowd in bright sunshine with a hotter than expected 43-degree track temperature and a 32-degree ambient temperature. The scene was set for an epic World Championship decider.
Bayliss led into turn one from the lights with his team-mate Capirossi tucked close behind him and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC211V) third. But further back Hayden, who’d sped away from slot five on the grid clouted Rossi who’d had made a sluggish getaway from pole. Hayden lay sixth at turn one on lap one.
Nicky, in the space of three turns was fourth, Marco Melandri (Fortuna Honda RC211V) deprived Rossi of sixth, and Dani was then in second after stealing past Capirossi. There was plenty of intent from Honda riders intent on maximizing their own chances of end of season glory. Melandri was vying for third in the World Championship with Capirossi.
The opening laps were a hard-fought demonstration of what makes MotoGP such a compelling sport. Nicky went to third on lap two, then almost snatched the lead from Bayliss at the end of the straight on lap four, with Melandri now third. Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) was working on Rossi for sixth. Rossi was perhaps biding his time, waiting to establish a rhythm, before making progress up the field shadowing the flying Hayden.
Hayden, for what it was worth, had changed the design of his leathers for this all-or-nothing race. Gone was the Kentucky Kid logo across the seat of the suit in favour of a deck of cards with the facing card a question mark – and a stack of gambling chips, with the slogan ‘All In’ laid over the top. He was riding all out – no question.
On lap five, the lap that decided the direction of the 2006 World MotoGP Championship, Nicky lay 0.3 seconds behind the inspired Troy Bayliss. And as Rossi hit the mid-point of the left-hand turn one, his machine slid from under him. The Italian and his Yamaha ended in the dirt, his title chances effectively over. He remounted in 20th place with a mountain to climb.
The order was Bayliss, Capirossi, Hayden, Melandri, Pedrosa, Stoner and Vermeulen. Rossi had too much to do and as long as Hayden could maintain station in third while Rossi lay lower than eighth, he could, against all pre-race odds lay claim to the title in a series in which he had scored in every round and won two races.
The fifth lap mishap came after a bad start from Rossi, who looked to be in perfect shape to defend his eight-point advantage going into the race after qualifying on pole position. However, the bad luck that followed the Italian throughout the first half of the season returned to strike its final, decisive blow when the front end of Rossi's YZR-M1 tucked under braking and sent him spinning into the gravel. Another heroic charge from the defending champion saw him recover seven places and brought him back into the points but it wasn't enough to hold off Hayden.
As mid-race rolled by Rossi had climbed to 16th, but he was a full 28 seconds behind race leader Bayliss. Then Vermeulen crashed and the thought loomed that sheer attrition might gift Rossi the places he needed to eat into Hayden’s chances. As the laps ran down to the flag Hayden hung close to Capirossi ready to steal a place on the Italian if he needed to, but then as it became clear Rossi had too much to do, Nicky merely reeled off the laps he needed to clinch the biggest prize on two wheels.
With three laps to go Rossi was nine seconds shy of Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda RC211V) in 12th and barring cruel luck the crown was Nicky’s. Sure enough Mister Consistency, the ‘All-in’ Kentucky Kid, was not going throw away a lifetime’s dream and the product of four hard years dedicated to this particular task. But Mister World Champion is who he now undoubtedly is.
World Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss led thge race from start to finish, scoring his first ever MotoGP victory in a glorious day that will go down in roadracing history books, and Ducati's history books as well as team mate Loris Capirossi followe him a second back for 2nd place and moved up to 3rd overal in the points. Yayden was 2 seconds beack in 3rd.
Troy Bayliss, Ducati Marlboro Team, race winner, "Honestly, it's been a fairytale weekend, I'm still pinching myself. I've had a great year, winning the World Superbike championship was a good start! Then just when I was kicking back I got a phone call asking if I was interested in doing this ride. It was something I couldn't knock back because I started the Desmosedici project with Loris at the end of 2002 and had some great times in 2003 and 2004, so to be able to come back and finish off the story at the last 990 race was incredible. I brought a few guys with me- Paolo Ciabatti, Davide Tardozzi and Ernesto Marinelli - and together with my old squad from 2004 we took it step by step and really enjoyed the weekend. Thanks to everybody because this will be my last ride in MotoGP, I've had some great times but I'm really comfortable where I am and this is probably best left to the young guys. To take a win is incredible - I've showed I can still ride around in circles pretty fast."
Finishing with 252 points to Rossi’s 247, Nicky said, “I’m so blessed. When you dedicate your life to something and it comes true it means so much. I have to thank the people around me who never stopped believing: Honda, my team, Michelin, my friends and family. It just goes to show when you keep fighting to the end and never give up then good things happen to you. I can’t really say just how much this means to me right now.”
Valentino Rossi (13th; +38.546) "Of course this is a big disappointment for me because to arrive at the final race with an eight-point advantage and then not win the title is a disaster. Basically I made two mistakes today - one was at the start and then the second one was the crash. It has been a very emotional season, with some great moments, some bad luck and now some mistakes. But this is racing...
All I can say now is a big 'congratulations' to Nicky because he is a great guy, a great rider and he is the World Champion because he has been the best this year. I have known him a long time, I know his family well and even though I am disappointed I am also very happy for them. It has been a great fight with him this year - not like in the past with other riders when there have always been some polemics - and we have great respect for each other. I want to say a huge thank you to Yamaha, to all my team and engineers and to everyone else involved, they've done an amazing job this year and now I am looking forward to working towards next season with the 800; I am sure it will be another exciting season and another big battle!"
Dani, who finished fourth, said, “I’m very happy for this result – for myself, for Nicky and for the team. The team has won every title this year – the riders’ title, the constructors, the Team title and the Rookie of the year so this is very good for us. I think we did a good job today. I made a good start and I was waiting until Nicky was behind me. When they showed me that Nicky was third and I was second I let him past and showed him with my foot where he should pass me. Then I slowed down quite a lot to give Nicky some space in second place. I didn’t push for the last five laps and brought it home.”
Melandri in fifth, and fourth overall, said, “I’m disappointed to have lost third in the championship by a single point. I had a good feeling with the bike and I was sure I would have a good race. I was really fast over the first few laps but when the tyres heated up, it got tough. I was racing hard because I wanted third in the championship and I put a lot of stress on the left of the tyre. I couldn’t ride as I wanted to and just had to focus on finishing the race as high as possible. My compliments to Nicky, he was great, well done.”
His team-mate Toni Elias (Fortuna Honda RC211V), sixth, said, “I am happy because I made a good comeback from 13th to sixth. At the start I found it tough but as the laps went by I got a good rhythm together. I made a mistake on the 20th lap but other than that I am satisfied. I have to thank my team, Fausto Gresini, my chief mechanic Cecchini and all the guys. And my compliments too to Nicky Hayden for the title.”
Kenny Roberts (Roberts KR211V) was eighth. He said, “I’d like to congratulate Nicky, and I feel for Valentino. Nicky and I have the same language, and we talk, but I’m also close to Valentino – we’ve worked with the riders’ safety committee for five years. He’s a champion whether he wins or loses… we all know that. He’s going to come back strong next year. Nicky rode well all year, and consistently, and he deserves to be up there to win the championship. So it was a fun year, and we look forward to improving.”
Tamada, 12th, said, “For this race I could not get a good qualifying time and had to start from the fifth row. It was a difficult race today. I didn’t get a good start and I didn’t have good grip from the front or rear tyres. This was my last race for the Konica Minolta Honda team and I wanted a good result, so 12th place is very disappointing. I just wish to thank all the people in the Konica Minolta team who have helped me during my stay with the team and also all our sponsors."
Casey Stoner (LCR Honda RC211V) crashed out on lap 25. He said, “Today I really I wanted to get a nice result for myself and the LCR team. But it’s strange, I don’t know what is happening – so many times recently we are fast in practice and have the perfect race set-up, the perfect tyre and then the bike feels nothing like it does in practice. Today it just wouldn’t turn like it did in practice. I’m really disappointed, after everything was so sweet at the start of the season. But I want give a big thanks to the whole LCR team who gave me this opportunity and stuck with me this year.”
Results MotoGP: Race Classification MotoGP : (30 laps = 120.15 km)
Pos/ Rider / Nat / Team / Motorcycle / Time/ KM/H / Gap
1 / Troy BAYLISS / AUS / Ducati Marlboro Team / DUCATI / 46'55.415 / 153.632 /
2 / Loris CAPIROSSI / ITA / Ducati Marlboro Team / DUCATI / 46'56.734 / 153.56 / 1.319
3 / Nicky HAYDEN / USA / Repsol Honda Team / HONDA / 47'04.645 / 153.13 / 9.23
4 / Dani PEDROSA / SPA / Repsol Honda Team / HONDA / 47'07.480 / 152.977 / 12.065
5 / Marco MELANDRI / ITA / Fortuna Honda / HONDA / 47'11.721 / 152.748 / 16.306
6 / Toni ELIAS / SPA / Fortuna Honda / HONDA / 47'12.805 / 152.689 / 17.39
7 / Shinya NAKANO / JPN / Kawasaki Racing Team / KAWASAKI / 47'14.744 / 152.585 / 19.329
8 / Kenny ROBERTS JR / USA / Team Roberts / KR211V / 47'18.589 / 152.378 / 23.174
9 / Colin EDWARDS / USA / Camel Yamaha Team / YAMAHA / 47'21.487 / 152.223 / 26.072
10 / Carlos CHECA / SPA / Tech 3 Yamaha / YAMAHA / 47'23.609 / 152.109 / 28.194
11 / John HOPKINS / USA / Rizla Suzuki MotoGP / SUZUKI / 47'24.779 / 152.046 / 29.364
12 / Makoto TAMADA / JPN / Konica Minolta Honda / HONDA / 47'25.122 / 152.028 / 29.707
13 / Valentino ROSSI / ITA / Camel Yamaha Team / YAMAHA / 47'33.961 / 151.557 / 38.546
14 / James ELLISON / GBR / Tech 3 Yamaha / YAMAHA / 48'15.428 / 149.387 / 1'20.013
15 / Garry McCOY / AUS / Ilmor SRT / ILMOR X3 / 47'10.246 / 117.167 / 7 laps
Pole Position: Valentino ROSSI 1'31.002 158.436 Km/h
Fastest Lap (New record): Loris CAPIROSSI 1'32.924 155.159 Km/h Lap 5
Circuit Record Lap: Marco MELANDRI 1'33.043 154.960 Km/h 2005
Circuit Best Lap: 2006 - Valentino ROSSI 1'31.002 158.436 Km/h
World Championship Positions:
1 HAYDEN 252, 2 ROSSI 247, 3 CAPIROSSI 229, 4 MELANDRI 228, 5 PEDROSA 215,
6 ROBERTS 134, 7 EDWARDS 124, 8 STONER 119, 9 ELIAS 116, 10 HOPKINS 116,
11 VERMEULEN 98, 12 TAMADA 96, 13 GIBERNAU 95, 14 NAKANO 92, 15 CHECA 75.
The 3 new 2006 MotoGP World Champions: (left to right) 125cc Alvaro Bautista on Aprilia, 990cc Nicky Hayden on Honda, 250cc Jorge Lorenzo on Aprilia.
250cc GP Race to De Angelis, World Championship to Jorge Lorenzo on Aprilia
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.
250cc Race Classification: (27 laps = 108.135 km)
Pos / Rider / Nat / Team / Motorcycle / Time / KM/H / Gap
1 / Alex DE ANGELIS / RSM / Master - MVA Aspar Team / APRILIA / 43'52.247 / 147.891 /
2 / Roberto LOCATELLI / ITA / Team Toth / APRILIA / 43'56.771 / 147.637 / 4.524
3 / Hector BARBERA / SPA / Fortuna Aprilia / APRILIA / 44'01.798 / 147.356 / 9.551
4 / Jorge LORENZO / SPA / Fortuna Aprilia / APRILIA / 44'03.613 / 147.255 / 11.366
5 / Alex DEBON / SPA / Aprilia Racing / APRILIA / 44'07.204 / 147.055 / 14.957
6 / Shuhei AOYAMA / JPN / Repsol Honda / HONDA / 44'09.868 / 146.907 / 17.621
7 / Andrea DOVIZIOSO / ITA / Humangest Racing Team / HONDA / 44'10.752 / 146.858 / 18.505
8 / Manuel POGGIALI / RSM / Red Bull KTM GP 250 / KTM / 44'11.093 / 146.839 / 18.846
9 / David DE GEA / SPA / Repsol Honda / HONDA / 44'12.609 / 146.755 / 20.362
10 / Sylvain GUINTOLI / FRA / Equipe GP De France - Scrab / APRILIA / 44'16.504 / 146.54 / 24.257
11 / Jakub SMRZ / CZE / Cardion AB Motoracing / APRILIA / 44'28.318 / 145.891 / 36.071
12 / Alex BALDOLINI / ITA / Matteoni Racing / APRILIA / 44'32.570 / 145.659 / 40.323
13 / Aleix ESPARGARO / SPA / Wurth Honda BQR / HONDA / 44'41.469 / 145.176 / 49.222
14 / Fabricio PERREN / ARG / Stop And Go Racing Team / HONDA / 44'44.034 / 145.037 / 51.787
15 / Andrea BALLERINI / ITA / Campetella Racing / APRILIA / 44'45.441 / 144.961 / 53.194
Pole Position: Hiroshi AOYAMA 1'35.109 151.594 Km/h
Fastest Lap: Alex DE ANGELIS 1'36.441 149.500 Km/h Lap 13
Circuit Record Lap: Dani PEDROSA 1'35.792 150.513 Km/h 2005
Circuit Best Lap: 2006 - Hiroshi AOYAMA 1'35.109 151.594 Km/h
World Championship Positions:
1 LORENZO 289, 2 DOVIZIOSO 272, 3 DE ANGELIS 228, 4 AOYAMA 193, 5 LOCATELLI 191,
6 TAKAHASHI 156, 7 BARBERA 152, 8 AOYAMA 99, 9 GUINTOLI 96, 10 SIMONCELLI 92,
11 WEST 78, 12 SMRZ 58, 13 DEBON 50, 14 POGGIALI 50, 15 CARDENAS 37.
125cc GP Race to Faubel, World Championship to Bautista
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.
125cc: Race Classification: (24 laps = 96.12 km)
Pos / Rider / Nat / Team / Motorcycle / Time / KM/H / Gap
1 / Hector FAUBEL / SPA / Master - MVA Aspar Team / APRILIA / 40'15.460 / 143.257 /
2 / Mika KALLIO / FIN / Red Bull KTM GP 125 / KTM / 40'17.224 / 143.152 / 1.764
3 / Sergio GADEA / SPA / Master - MVA Aspar Team / APRILIA / 40'17.398 / 143.142 / 1.938
4 / Alvaro BAUTISTA / SPA / Master - MVA Aspar Team / APRILIA / 40'24.106 / 142.746 / 8.646
5 / Lukas PESEK / CZE / Derbi Racing / DERBI / 40'24.133 / 142.744 / 8.673
6 / Pol ESPARGARO / SPA / Campetella Racing Junior / DERBI / 40'27.888 / 142.523 / 12.428
7 / Pablo NIETO / SPA / Multimedia Racing / APRILIA / 40'34.385 / 142.143 / 18.925
8 / Gabor TALMACSI / HUN / Humangest Racing Team / HONDA / 40'37.518 / 141.96 / 22.058
9 / Mattia PASINI / ITA / Master - MVA Aspar Team / APRILIA / 40'37.562 / 141.958 / 22.102
10 / Thomas LUTHI / SWI / Elit - Caffe Latte / HONDA / 40'40.865 / 141.766 / 25.405
11 / Nicolas TEROL / SPA / Derbi Racing / DERBI / 40'41.065 / 141.754 / 25.605
12 / Bradley SMITH / GBR / Repsol Honda / HONDA / 40'44.160 / 141.575 / 28.7
13 / Esteve RABAT / SPA / Wurth Honda BQR / HONDA / 40'51.666 / 141.141 / 36.206
14 / Tomoyoshi KOYAMA / JPN / Malaguti Ajo Corse / MALAGUTI / 40'57.111 / 140.828 / 41.651
15 / Lorenzo ZANETTI / ITA / Skilled I.S.P.A. Racing Team / APRILIA / 40'57.208 / 140.823 / 41.748
Pole Position: Alvaro BAUTISTA 1'39.058 145.551 Km/h
Fastest Lap(New Record): Hector FAUBEL 1'39.574 144.796 Km/h Lap 5
Circuit Record Lap: Steve JENKNER 1'40.252 143.817 Km/h 2002
Circuit Best Lap: 2006 - Alvaro BAUTISTA 1'39.058 145.551 Km/h
World Championship Positions:
1 BAUTISTA 338, 2 KALLIO 262, 3 FAUBEL 197, 4 PASINI 192, 5 GADEA 160, 6 PESEK 154,
7 TALMACSI 119, 8 LUTHI 113, 9 SIMON 97, 10 OLIVE 85, 11 LAI Fabrizio 83, 12 CORSI 79,
13 NIETO 66, 14 TEROL 53, 15 KOYAMA 49.
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A Day That Will Go Down in Ducati History
Ducati Marlboro Team riders Troy Bayliss and Loris Capirossi finished MotoGP's 990cc era in awesome style at Valencia today, storming to a dominant one-two finish in front of a capacity crowd of 129,000 noisy fans.
Ducati's recently crowned World Superbike champion led from start to finish in a one-off ride replacing the injured Sete Gibernau, while Capirossi came through from third on the first lap to shadow his team-mate to the flag. Along the way Capirossi smashed the lap record, secured the team's first one-two MotoGP finish and took third overall in the World Championship, the Ducati Marlboro Team's best finish in the MotoGP riders' series.
The race was a perfect end to the 990cc Desmosedici project that started so well at Suzuka 2003, where Capirossi scored a podium result first time out. Bayliss' brilliant win brings the team's total of MotoGP wins to seven, the other six won by Capirossi in 2003, 2005 and at this year's Spanish, Czech and Japanese GPs.
During its four seasons in MotoGP the Ducati Marlboro Team has also scored a total of 27 podiums, nine pole positions and eight fastest laps. Next year MotoGP switches to 800cc engines.
Loris Capirossi, Ducati Marlboro Team, 2nd, 3rd overall, 229 points "This has been an incredible season, one of the best, with many different race winners and a lot of nice fighting. This weekend started really well, Friday and Saturday were very good and today was pretty good. My start wasn't so great, some guys overtook me.
Anyway, I got past them and tried to follow Troy, but he rode really, really well today. My pit board told me that second was good enough for third in the championship but it would have been difficult to beat him. I am really happy with third overall and we are only 23 points behind the champion.
I have had some bad moments this season but all year my team did a really great job, so my thanks to them because my bikes were always so good and I never made any mistakes. Now we are ready to put all our focus into next year. We start testing the 800 again in a few days and we know the bike is already not so bad. We also believe a lot in Bridgestone's power, sometimes the tyres weren't perfect but sometime they were really good. Congratulations to Troy. When I saw how fast he was on Friday I said ‘wow, this is a good talent, a good guy!'."
Federico Minoli, president and CEO Ducati Motor Holding
"This day will go down in Ducati's history. This is the first time we have had a one-two finish in MotoGP, the first time we have won the first and last races of the season and our best-ever championship finish. It's a great end to the year, a good omen for 2007, great for team morale and very important for our technical partners Bridgestone and Shell Advance and all our sponsors."
Valencia MotoGP Finale Sell Out at 125,000!
Ticketless fans asked to stay away from Valencia race
Gran Premio bwin.com de la Comunitat Valenciana - Wednesday 25th October
The promoters of this weekend’s Gran Premio bwin.com de la Comunitat Valenciana are asking fans without tickets to stay away from this weekend’s race, and enjoy the race in the comfort of their own homes thus preventing a logistical nightmare at the Spanish track.
On June 1st, the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo put tickets on sale for this weekend’s race, and in just three months all seating was sold out. The installation of the new MVA Grandstand was then given the all-clear, adding 7,500 extra places which were also snapped up in a matter of days.
A predicted 125,000 spectators will be in attendance for the thrilling climax of the 2006 season on Sunday, and due to the capacity of the parking areas and the security requirements of the organisation those unable to purchase tickets are requested not to attend the event.
Eduardo Nogues, General Director of the Circuit, stated, “It has become necessary to ask that all spectators without tickets refrain from coming to the track, to ensure ease of access for those who have purchased their tickets in advance.”
Federico Minoli, president and CEO Ducati Motor Holding comments on Bayliss' Front Row Start
"Troy Baylisis the promising young man of motorcycling! We are very happy for him, he's a great racer and a great friend of Ducati. We gave him the present of racing here and he has given us the present of a front-row start. Loris is as strong as ever. To have two bikes on the front row for the last 990 race is a dream come true. Tomorrow will be interesting because the times are so close. We will enjoy the day and see what happens."
Yamaha and Edwards Renew their partnership for 2007
Friday, 27th Oct. - Valencia, SpainYamaha Motor Co. Ltd is pleased to announce that Colin Edwards will continue with the Japanese factory for a third year in 2007, racing in the official Yamaha Factory Team. The 32-year-old American, who has previously won two World Superbike titles and has a best finish of fourth in the MotoGP World Championship with Yamaha, joined the Team in 2005 and has scored points in all but one of his 33 starts for them. Edwards has signed a one-year agreement, which will see him race on Yamaha’s new 800cc bike alongside Valentino Rossi again next season.
Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing Srl, Lin Jarvis, commented, “We are very happy to have retained Colin for another year. Although he hasn’t had the easiest of seasons in 2006, he has given a strong showing in the last few races and has proven he can fight at the top of the MotoGP World Championship. He fits very well into the Yamaha ‘family’ and we’re sure that he will play a key role in the development of the new 800cc Yamaha MotoGP bike alongside Valentino.”
Edwards, who began his international career with Yamaha in the World Superbike series in 1995 before returning to the Factory last year, said “I couldn’t be happier to be staying with Yamaha for another year. It’s no secret that this season we haven’t achieved the results we should have had, but in the last few races I feel that things have started to turn around and we hope to finish on a high in Valencia. I couldn’t ask for a better team-mate or team, I’m really happy at Yamaha and I can’t wait to start working on the new bike!”
“The good partnership between Colin and Valentino is one of the strongest assets of our team,” added Davide Brivio, Team Director of Yamaha’s Factory Team. “We think that, for various different reasons, Colin wasn’t able to show his full potential this year and that’s why we’re very glad to have the chance to work again together next year. We are confident that we can offer him the right package to enable him to stay at the top throughout next season. Working with Colin is a real pleasure and we’re very happy to continue with him for another year.”
Valencia MotoGP WarmUp
Thursday 27th - The MotoGP paddock always attracts a large following, even on a pre-race Thursday without on-track action. The Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia welcomed an even larger crowd than normal as the riders prepared for their final battle of 2006, the Gran Premio bwin.com de la Comunitat Valenciana.
Even the most casual follower of MotoGP is aware of the circumstances surrounding Sunday’s race. Valentino Rossi leads Nicky Hayden in the championship by eight points, and one of the two stars will leave Spain as the last ever MotoGP World Champion on a 990cc bike. Both riders were present in the customary pre-event press conference, joined by Hayden’s team-mate Dani Pedrosa, the victor 2 weeks ago in Estoril Toni Elias and last year’s race winner Marco Melandri. Along with fielding the inevitable questions about the title race, Repsol Honda duo Hayden and Pedrosa were also quizzed about the accident which dealt a serious blow to the American’s title chances in Portugal.
Ahead of tomorrow’s practice sessions, there were a number of pre-event activities around Valencia. John Hopkins, Toni Elias and Randy de Puniet all headed down to the stunning new port area to meet members of the BMW Oracle Racing team, an outfit aiming to take part in the 32nd America’s Cup next year. They had the opportunity to see next year’s boat in all its glory in the dedicated boathouse.
Dani Pedrosa also headed outside the hustle and bustle of the paddock, participating in a special event for the launch of the Official MotoGP videogame which goes on sale this week. The Spaniard pitted his gaming skills with some rapid thumb-work against five contestants, winning a two lap race which he said “would undoubtedly be easier than Sunday’s Grand Prix.”
With the British version held at Donington earlier this year, Valencia was the setting for the Spanish “Day Of Champions.” A fundraising event put on by Riders for Health, MotoGP’s official charity, various activities were held on the day including a pit lane visit, a stunt show on the starting grid and the always-popular MotoGP auction, with items signed by various World Championship riders put on sale to the highest bidder, with all proceeds going to the good cause.
Michelin gave a special presentation this evening to all their MotoGP riders, in which they presented them with tyres adorned with their national colours.
Having announced his departure from Konica Minolta Honda earlier this week, Makoto Tamada also today confirmed his move to Herve Poncharal’s Tech 3 Yamaha team, keeping both rider and team in MotoGP next year.
With the rumour mill running at full steam, it had been speculated that Loris Capirossi and returning rider Troy Bayliss would give the 800cc Desmosedici GP07 its first race run-out in Valencia this weekend. Ducati MotoGP Project Manager Livio Suppo dismissed a sneak preview of the new bike, stating that the Gran Premio bwin.com de la Comunitat Valenciana would hopefully mark the perfect end to the 990cc Ducati era.
GP Winner Casey Stoner Joins the Ducati MotoGP Team
Oct. 19th - The Ducati Marlboro Team have reached an agreement with Casey Stoner to take part in the 2007 MotoGP World Championship, with an option for the following year.
The start of a new era for MotoGP, which will see 800 cc bikes taking the place of the 990 cc powered machines, also marks the start of a fresh chapter in Ducati.
Following the first positive tests carried out with the Desmosedici GP7, the Borgo Panigale-based team are looking to the future with confidence and have decided to offer an opportunity to the talented young Australian.
As the former 2005 250cc Grand Prix World Champion, Ducati Corse obviously feels the new smaller engined 800c MotoGP machines will need to be ridden with a higher cornering speed like in the 250cc GP class, making the former 250cc Champ a perfect choice to replace Sete Giberneau. The fact the Stoner has also adapted well to the bigger and more powerful MotoGP bikes, actually beating Valentiono Rossi for the race winthis last weekend at Estoril, gives Ducati an extreamely strong rider lineup together with Loris Capirossi for the 2007 season.
With the benefit of Loris Capirossi's enormous experience and the support of the entire team, Casey can now get to grips with the new technical package that will be made available to him and fully demonstrate the great talent that he has already expressed this year on his debut in the top category.
"I am really happy to have been given this opportunity to race with the Ducati Marlboro Team next year. Ducati have made a lot of progress in the last couple of years and I think they can also do a great job with the new 800.
It's a great privilege for me to be Loris Capirossi's team-mate. I watched him race before I started my career and now it's a real honour to be in the same team as him on the same bike.
Finally I'd like to thank Lucio Cecchinello. We have worked well together over the years but I feel that the possibility of racing in a factory team is the best thing for my future".
Claudio Domenicali (Ducati Corse Managing Director and Ducati Director of Product Development)
"It's always nice to welcome someone to our large family but it is just as difficult to say goodbye to someone who leaves. We are at the end of a season that has given us great satisfaction but which on the other hand has proved to have been particularly difficult for Sete. Despite his devotion and his undoubted talent, a number of factors have prevented him from obtaining the results to live up to everyone's expectations. Our heartfelt thanks go out to him for his commitment and professionalism and we wish him all the best for his future.
I am delighted to welcome Casey to Ducati. He is a very promising rider, with talent and determination in abundance. We are sure that with the help of our and Loris's experience, he will get to know our bike and his experience will mature in line with the development of the GP7. With his enthusiasm and aggressive riding style, Casey is sure to give our fans some extraordinary emotions, in the best spirit of Ducati".
John Hopkins to Trade MotoGP Bike for Tonio Liuzzi 's F1 Car
On the last day of October, John Hopkins and Tonio Liuzzi will be taking part in a Rizla Suzuki MotoGP – Scuderia Toro Rosso “Seat Swap” at the Valencia circuit in Spain.
The Italian F1 driver will cock his leg over the saddle of John Hopkins’ Rizla Suzuki MotoGP bike just two days after the Anglo-American will have raced it at the same Spanish circuit at the final round of the MotoGP championship. Hopkins, will get the opportunity to sit behind the wheel of the Toro Rosso F1 car, sporting a Rizla-blue fire suit and an Arai car helmet painted in his distinctive Red Bull colours. Liuzzi is having a special set of leathers made for this event, as well as switching to a motorcycle specification helmet.
Like most Italians, Tonio is mad about bikes, using one to ride round the F1 race tracks prior to race weekends, as well as riding superbikes back in his native Italy, where he regularly heads out on the road on a Suzuki GSX-R750. He has also been know to indulge in the occasional track day, but don’t tell his team-boss as it is probably strictly forbidden in his contract. You can imagine what the other customers think when Liuzzi, an instantly recognisable figure in his homeland, turns up, pays a few Euros and heads out on the track with all the other amateurs!
But on Tuesday 31st October, Hopkins and Liuzzi are not going to meet one another on the track as, in the name of safety, they are not being allowed out of the pits at the same time! Just think of the insurance premiums.
“I’m looking forward to this very much,” said Tonio. “Especially as I was supposed to do it earlier but John had had an accident and it was not possible. I had some preparation riding a 750 Suzuki round Silverstone and riding at Valencia should be very interesting as I will be able to compare my times to what the ‘real’ racers did on the Sunday before.”
“I’m really excited about this,” commented Hopkins, “it’s the first time I’ve been given the chance to drive a F1 car properly and the team are telling me to give it a bit of throttle – which makes me excited but a bit nervous too! I think it will be a really interesting day, with Liuzzi on the bike and me in the car, and our respective crews having to work with different guys using their machines. It’s going to be an experience of a lifetime and I’m really grateful to Red Bull and Rizla Suzuki for making it happen. I’m really pumped up for it and can’t wait for it to happen!”
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Just so you don't go into total withdrawl now the racing season is over, here's something you can really look forward to to warm up a cold night.
Makoto Tamada joins Tech3 Yamaha for 2007 MotoGP
The Tech 3 Yamaha Team have chosen Makoto Tamada to join their team for the 2007 MotoGP World Championship season. The 29-year-old Japanese will ride the new 800cc Yamaha and continue the development of Dunlop tyres of which the performance has significantly improved during the 2006 season.
"We are very happy to welcome Makoto Tamada" says Herve Poncharal, Tech 3 Yamaha Dunlop team manager. " He is an excellent rider who has already proved his potential by winning two Grands Prix and being on the podium five times in the MotoGP era. We are sure that he will be able to help Dunlop becoming more competitive - a challenge that has become even more interesting as we will all jointly work with the new Yamaha 800 with the full support of the Yamaha factory."
Makoto Tamada, who made his MotoGP debut in 2003 also looks forward to joining this project: "I am happy to be back on Dunlop tyres again, and have good memories of riding on Dunlop in the Japanese Superbike Championship. I am excited by the challenge that the Tech 3 Yamaha Dunlop project offers. I was able to judge at close quarters the current level of the Yamaha Dunlup package during the Portuguese GP, where Carlos Checa and I raced very close together."
Checa ends his tenure with Tech 3 Yamaha Team scoring another top 10 result
It was a fitting result for the current Tech 3 Yamaha Team as Carlos Checa, in his swansong for the team brought his Yamaha home in 10th place after a hard fought tussle at the Grand Prix of Valencia at the Ricardo Tormo circuit won by Australian, Troy Bayliss on a Ducati. After starting from 16th position on the grid Carlos battled his way through a number of other factory machines showing the determination that has attracted the appreciation of many in the Grand Prix world and again demonstrating the impressive improved performance of the Dunlop tyres the team has used this year. Carlos came close to being the first Yamaha home as he followed Colin Edwards home by less than two seconds after defending world champion, Valentino Rossi made a very rare mistake when he crashed although he remounted to finish in 13th position Team mate James Ellison finished his time with the Tech 3 team in the points finishing in 14th position after battling handling problems with his machine.
Carlos Checa (10th, Fastest lap 1'33.944) - "It was a very good race. I got a start that was not so bad and I was with a group fighting for 10th to 15th position then Valentino crashed. I feel sorry for them because they lost the championship. Finally, I finished in the top 10 but it wasn't easy at the beginning. I was extremely happy with the performance of the tyre as it stayed very stable and this gave me the opportunity to pass some riders and I ended up quite close to Colin. This will give the team a good reference for us considering Colin's team is using another tyre brand and it shows how much Dunlop has improved. I feel very close to Yamaha but very sad as it is the day I leave this team, Dunlop and Yamaha and after this year I feel so very satisfied as we always fought to improve as it was never easy to get better to bring the bikes and tyres as good as possible. I feel that this is one of my best seasons considering how the season started as it was quite difficult an intense.
This team gave me the chance to continue competing to learn more about tyre, and in the human aspects we had a very close relationship with many positive things. We must be very satisfied now. It is something hard to explain at this moment why I am leaving because I want to challenge for a better position in races and I know if they continue here I need more time to develop to get into a more competitive position. At least I left something very important, some progress, some results and some improvements so they can keep working and growing. This is the kind of year I will not forget for sureas like I said it has probably been my most satisfying in al the years I have spent in the Grand Prix. I'd like to thank Herve, Yamaha, Dunlop and the entire team for allowing me to learn more about riding, development and about myself and know that we will part as good friends."
Tech 3 Yamaha Signs Sylvain Guintoli to Join Tamada
Oct 21st - The Tech 3 Team is pleased to announce that the Yamaha-Dunlop project will continue in 2007 with a two-rider line-up. After signing Makoto Tamada last week, Tech 3 Yamaha has completed its 2007 squad with the addition of French 250cc rider and current Tech 3 test rider Sylvain Guintoli.
Herve Poncharal, Team Principal of Tech 3 Yamaha, said “I am very grateful to Yamaha for supporting us for one more season and enabling us to have two riders on the new 800cc motorcycle. Furthermore, I am very happy to announce that Sylvain Guintoli will be our second rider alongside Makoto Tamada. The Tech 3 Yamaha Team will be the only team to run Dunlop tyres in MotoGP and we are delighted that we will have such a talented line-up to continue with the great work that we’ve done in 2006.”
“It’s a dream come true for me to finally step up to the MotoGP class,” added French star Guintoli. “Herve and I have known each other for years and to be given the chance to ride with a Yamaha factory team is a fantastic opportunity for me. I want to thank Herve Poncharal and Yamaha for this chance and I can’t wait to begin working with them.”
Kawasaki Looks to Youth for 2007 - Shinya Nakano Says Goodbye
While Kawasaki were keen to retain the services of the 29-year-old Japanese rider to develop and race their all-new 800cc Grand Prix machine during the 2007 season, Nakano informed senior Kawasaki staff of his decision to leave the Kawasaki Racing Team during a meeting held immediately after the Japanese Grand Prix.
The Motegi meeting was the culmination of weeks of negotiations between Kawasaki and Nakano's management company but, despite compromises on both sides, Kawasaki were finally unable to secure Nakano's signature on a new contract.
Nakano has enjoyed a successful three year stint with the Kawasaki Racing Team, taking his Ninja ZX-RR to two podium finishes - including a career best second place at this year's Dutch TT at Assen - and finishing top ten in the championship on two occasions.
"Shinya Nakano has been an integral part of Kawasaki's success in recent years, and we are obviously disappointed that we were unable to reach an agreement to retain his services for the future," commented Kawasaki Team Principal, Harald Eckl.
"But, it became increasingly obvious during negotiations that Shinya was looking for a different challenge next year, and that, maybe, the responsibility for developing Kawasaki's new 800cc MotoGP machine was one that he was not prepared to shoulder. We would like to thank Shinya for all his hard work and dedication over the past three seasons, and we wish him the best of luck with his plans for the future."
The Kawasaki Racing Team will combine youth and experience in their rider line-up for the 2007 season, with former world champion, Olivier Jacque, making his full time return to the MotoGP grid, riding alongside current Kawasaki young gun, and fellow countryman, Randy de Puniet.
The 2007 season will be de Puniet's second with the Kawasaki Racing Team. The 25-year-old Frenchman enjoyed a solid debut year in the MotoGP class with Kawasaki, during which he showed his potential on a number of occasions, whilst also gaining valuable experience with every outing aboard his Ninja ZX-RR.
De Puniet's professional approach to his racing this season, combined with a fierce determination to succeed, was enough to convince Kawasaki Racing Director, Kenichi Furuhashi, that the Frenchman was the right person to lead Kawasaki's assault on the 2007 MotoGP World Championship.
De Puniet is Kawasaki's investment for the future, and by backing up this investment with a seasoned campaigner such as Jacque, Furuhashi-san is confident that the young Frenchman will be able to fully realise his obvious potential next season, as he steps up to fill the team leader's position vacated by Shinya Nakano.
Jacque, whose work as Kawasaki's test and development rider this year has been instrumental in the increasing competitiveness of the Ninja ZX-RR, will make his debut as a full time Kawasaki rider in November, during a planned test at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia where, together with teammate de Puniet, he will participate in the first shakedown tests of the 800cc machine that both Kawasaki pilots will campaign during the 2007 season.
Teaming a young rider like de Puniet with an experienced development rider such as Jacque will pay dividends for Kawasaki next season, with input from both riders accelerating the development of the Japanese manufacturer's 800cc Ninja ZX-RR into a race-winning package.