10.03.2007 - Commercialbank Grand Prix of Quatar - Losail
The new 2007 motoGP season is off to a flying start. There’s no doubt about that. Each and every one of the three races (125, 250 and 800cc - or motoGP class) provided just the kind of show we all grew to expect from motoGP.
In the GP class, Australian Casey Stoner took a hard-worked-for victory ahead of Italian, Valentino Rossi. The race itself was close to a heart-attack. Both Rossi and Stoner started strong, with the former proving to be the dominant rider and overtaking the latter several times throughout the race. The young Australian, however, took full advantage of the wonderful bike Ducati provides him this season and muscled through back, every time on the straight-line.
The combination of Ducati-muscle and Bridgestone tires (Stoner used medium-medium, yet they didn’t wear down by the end of the race) was too much for the Doctor to handle. Despite some magnificent riding on his part, he was forced to admit defeat about halfway through the last lap, when he visibly fell off-pace.
All in all, it would’ve been a superb weekend for Ducati, as seasoned Ducati-rider, Stoner’s teammate, Italian Loris Capirossi also threw in a dominant performance until he fell and abandoned the race. The new Desmosedici looks more capable than ever to provide a serious challenge for Honda and Yamaha in the team and constructor’s championship this year.
Third place was taken by Honda rider, Dani Pedrosa followed by Rizla Suzuki’s John Hopkins in a close 4th. Reigning champion, Nikki Hayden came in on a disappointing 8th, but his race was plagued by health problems and considering everything, his performance wasn’t half bad.
The 250cc class had the most decisive winner in Jorge Lorenzo, who came in ahead of second place Alex DeAngelis. Third place went to Team Toth’s Hector Barbera, after he managed to valiantly hold off Thomas Luthi. All top-four riders rode Aprilias, the fastest Honda came in 5th , ridden by Andrea Dovizioso.
Mika Kallio of KTM, had to abandon the race due to mechanical problems, after his team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama had also crashed out a few laps earlier. Reigning 125cc champ Alvaro Bautista - now racing in 250cc - had the same fate, crashing out just after 2 laps.
The 125cc class provided one of the most spectacular races of the weekend ( as usual) Hungary’s Gabor Talmacsi battled it out with fellow Bancaja Aspar rider, Spaniard Hector Faubel. Coming strong from behind, the Hungarian managed to overtake Faubel, but the catching-up had taken its toll on his rear tire. Faced with his opponent’s superior, 2007 motorcycle, Talmacsi had no option but to helplessly watch Faubel overtake him on the last few meters of the race. Great show, nonetheless.
3rd place went to Lukas Pesek, after a pitched battle with Raffaelle de Rosa.
Since Losail is the very first race of the 2007 season, the riders’ overall championship is a mirror image of the race-positions obtained by each rider today.
29.10.2006. - GP Bwin.com de la Comunitat Valenciana
If the headline seems a bit crazy and confusing to you, you're right. It's just about as mixed up as Sunday's race was in Valencia. After the drama that had unfolded in the last race in Estoril all motorcycle fans thought: nothing will ever top this. Well, think again guys. Estoril is as good as forgotten. What happened in Valencia was about as unexpected is it gets. But let us take a closer look at what really happened there.
Nicky Hayden knew there could be no mistakes this time around. Dani Pedrosa knew that too. After what he did to Hayden a couple of weeks ago trying to guard the American's back was the least he could do to make up for it. Then Valentino Rossi fell. Yes indeed. Valentino Rossi fell. Quite uncharacteristically of him, the Italian rider crashed his M1 on lap 4, thus giving Nicky Hayden the green light to bring the title home. The American hung on to his third position to do just that. Even though Rossi came back into the race, he never managed to make up for all the deficit, ending up in 13th at the end of the race.
The surprises didn't end there though. After Rossi's fall it was predictable that Hayden wouldn't be going all out for the win. However, nobody could ever forsee that the Ducati stand-in rider, Troy Bayliss would cruise home in 1st. Even though I can't say the Ducati was something completely unfamiliar for Bayliss, winning a race, standing in for somebody, far exceeded my and probably everyone else's expectations.
To make a long story short, it was all Ducati on Sunday in Valencia. Troy Bayliss brought the Desmosedici home in first ( leading from the very first corner) followed by teammate Loris Capirossi in second.
Nicky Hayden came in in third and walked away with the 2006 title. Teammate Dani Pedrosa didn;t fumble around this time, as he did a great job keeping the competiton off Hayden's back. He came in in 4th. Marco Melandri came in 5th followed by Estoril's hero Toni Elias in 6th. After the fate of the champioship title got pretty much dragged out till the last few laps of the last race, this is what the general rider standings looked like after Valencia: first and 2006 Champion with 252 points, Nicky Hayden, runner up with 247 point Valentino Rossi, third place on the podium, with 229 point Loris Capirossi. The trio are followed by Marco Melandri, Dani Pedrosa and Kenny Roberts Jr. in that order.
250cc - Jorge Lorenzo won the 250 cc championship title in Valencia on Sunday. Alex de Angelis won the actual race, Locatelli came in second followed by Hector Barbera. Hiroshi Aoyama fell thus not only did he lose the race but also the 3rd position in the rider's championship to Alex de Angelis.
125cc - Hector Faubel won the 125 cc race on his home circuit followed by Mika Kallio and Sergio Gadea. The champion has been decided a few races ago in the person of Alvaro Bautista who finished 4th on Sunday.
15.10.2006. - Bwin.com Grande Premio de Portugal - Estoril
Well not quite literally, but he definitely gave the American’s title quest a near fatal blow. Saturday’s race in Estoril was, without a doubt, one of the most spectacular races of the season. Drama was present on the Portuguese circuit from the get-go to the very last few yards.
Valentino Rossi took the lead immediately after the start as it was literally offered to him on a silver plate by teammate Colin Edwards. Not everyone’s sidekick faired so well in Estoril though... Barely did overall championship leader Nicky Hayden start the chase to reel in the Doctor that his teammate, Dani Pedrosa, lost the front of the bike in a curve and slipped under the American rider’s Honda to cost the latter his first abandon of the season. As it was a crucial race in the battle for the title Nicky Hayden could no longer keep his shirt on. He left the circuit cursing to the skies and thank god, after the fall he didn’t land at arms reach of his teammate.
Another such incident involved Casey Stoner knocking Ducati’s Sete Gibernau out.
All in all - at that stage - it didn’t seem like it was a hot day for the rookies at all. The surprise came later however, as drama on the Estoril circuit had still a lot more left up its sleeve.
After Fortuna Honda’s Tony Elias surprisingly reeled Rossi in, it was veteran Kenny Roberts Jr’s turn to shine. He took the lead on lap 26 and was looking like he was capable of pulling away. The young Spaniard however -in a surprise move - overtook both him and Rossi at the end of the straight line.
The Doctor wouldn’t be called The Doctor if he had given up at that stage though. He came back in force and overtook Elias with only a few turns left of the last lap. In a dramatic final straight rundown the young Spaniard managed to steal a photo finish from the Italian to score his maiden win in the motoGP class.
Kenny Roberts Jr. came in 3rd (he declared after the race that his season objective was to actually see Valentino Rossi cross the finish line, and for that, he was well within sight-range)
Colin Edwards came in on a comfortable 4th, followed by Makoto Tamada and John Hopkins. As a result of Hayden crashing out, Valentino Rossi took the championship lead for the first time in the season with an 8 point advantage over the American.
Another notable event in Estoril was the debut of a new team with a rider not “entirely” unfamiliar with motoGP races. Garry McCoy managed to score Ilmor’s first ever point in a motoGP event, despite the fact that he had to take the 800cc machine twice into the pits..
The 250 cc class was stage to yet another Championship drama. Andrea Dovizioso took the victory to hand Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo’s Portuguese title-celebration dreams a fatal blow. He was followed by Hiroshi Aoyama in second and Alex DeAngelis in third. Jorge Lorenzo only managed to come in on 5th.
It was business as usual in the 125 cc class in Estoril. Alvaro Bautista took a comfortable victory, as his eight one this season made him the rider with the most ever points in 125cc. He was followed by Hector Faubel and Mika Kallio in second and third respectively. Lucas Pesek, Julian Simon, Tomoyoshi Koyama, Fabrizio Lai and Hungary’s Gabor Talmacsi completed the top eight in that order.