24.09.2006 -A-Style Grand Prix of Japan, Twin Ring Motegi
The weather forecast predicted a typhoon headed for Motegi right before the beginning of the race, but despite this, all spectators who ventured out to see the action live, were treated to a mild sunny weather just right for motorcycle racing.
A typhoon did hit however, a red Italian typhoon, in the shape of Loris Capirossi and his Ducati Desmosedici.
The Italian rider started off from pole position and never looked behind - despite some early problems caused to him by fellow Italian, Fortuna Honda’s Marco Melandri.
The dominant style in which Capirex cruised to the finish line was somewhat reminiscent of his win in Sepang a few weeks ago.
Teammate Sete Gibernau’s 4th place finish in Motegi gave Ducati fans hope once again that their favorite riders would finally learn to harness the horsepowers the Desmosedici so generously and uncontrollably churns out its rear end, however, with only two more races to go in the 2006 season it might all be too little too late again.
After a valiant performance - which seems to come as natural as ever - the Doctor, Valentino Rossi secured second place and thus crept within 12 points distance of overall Championship leader Nicky Hayden.
Third place belonged to Marco Melandri, a rider whose presence is more and more pragmatic and whose performances seem to get more and more constant in time. As said before Spaniard Sete Gibernau mopped up the top four on his Ducati, followed for a while by home favorite Shiny Nakano who crashed out before the end of the race. Taking advantage of this incident Nicky Hayden came up to 5th position followed by Toni Elias, Dani Pedrosa and Colin Edwards.
Makoto Tamada made the best of his home-court advantage and came in 10th right behind American Kenny Roberts Jr.
With Marco Melandri’s podium finish Honda secured the constructor’s Championship title, the riders championship-battle getting another boost out of the Motegi results.
250cc - Home rider Hiroshi Aoyama took the highest step of the podium in 250, followed by Alex DeAngelis. The pair to watch - namely Jorge Lorenzo - championship leader - and Andrea Dovizioso - in the boots of the challenger - battled it out for 3rd and fourth with the former extending his championship lead over the latter.
Japanese rider Yuki Takahashi has also had a great weekend up until the moment -that is - when he crashed right in front of Andrea Dovizioso. This disturbance cost the Italian precious seconds thus he was reeled in by the lurking, though previously off-pace Lorenzo.
125cc - the 125cc saw a crazy race in Motegi, with former championship rivals Alvaro Bautista and Mika Kallio dragging it out to the very last few yards of the race to settle the winner. The Fin got the better this time as a sweet -if late, revenge upon the Spaniard.
Julian Simon, Mattia Passini, Lucas Pesek and Hector Faubel completed the top six. Briton Bradley Smith, who only knew the circuit from computer games, came in on an astonishing 7th position.
17.09.2006 - GMC Australian Grand Prix, Phillip Island
Nothing went smooth in Phillip Island this weekend as far as moto-racing was concerned. After the start was delayed, the race saw the first implementation of the new white flag wet-race rule.
Thus, the race could basically be split into two parts. One that took place before the waving of the white flag, the other after the riders came out again having changed their bikes according to regulation.
Right after the actual start Japanese rider Shinya Nakano stormed away on his Kawasaki as if there had been no tomorrow. Not only that but he managed to consistently put space between him and his pursuers, after the white flag however, to his misfortune, he was among the last to come in for the bike change, thus all of the advantage he built up suddenly vanished.
In the end, after a battle one can only see in the World Motorcycle Championship, Marco Melandri emerged as the unlikely winner on his Fortuna Honda machine, followed by home-fav Chris Vermuelen on the Rizla Suzuki. The battle for third place was a drama in its own right. As Sete Gibernau was hot on the heels of Chris Vermuelen whom he had hoped to hunt down for third place he suddenly found himself overtaken by Valentino Rossi. Nicky Hayden was desperately trying to keep close to Rossi and maybe even challenge him for position, however the brave Spaniard managed to hold him off.
This daring maneuver chipped another 5 points off Nicky Hayden’s overall Championship lead over The Doctor. With his 225 point the Kentucky Kid has The Doctor breathing down his neck fast with his own 204. Third place is shared between the Sunday’s winner, Marco Melandri, and Repsol’s Dani Pedrosa - who had an underperformance barely finishing in 15th position as result of his inexperience in racing GP bikes in wet conditions. - both with 193 points.
Australian Casey Stoner came in 6th followed by Loris Capirossi and Shinya Nakano.
Capirex was probably bothered by the race conditions, thus explainable his rather average performance at a time when everybody expected a lot more from the Ducati rider, being involved in the battle for the championship.
In the 125cc class, Alvaro Bautista bagged the race win as well as the Championship title in style. He was followed by his main rival, Mika Kallio on the KTM, and Mattia Pasini, who, despite crashing earlier on in the race, got a second chance due to the restarting of the proceedings because of that very incident.
In the 250s Jorge Lorenzo took his 8th race win of the season thus extending his championship lead. He rolled in ahead of de Angelis who gave the Spaniard one hell of a battle complete with a finish line rundown. Hiroshi Aoyama came in third, title contender Andrea Dovizioso finishing in a disappointing 4th.
As result of Sunday’s race Jorge Lorenzo now leads the Championship with 249 points followed - at a 24 point distance - by Andrea Dovizioso with his 225.
10.09.2006. – MARLBORO Malaysian Motorcycle GP race - Sepang
After Loris Capirossi's huge victory in the previous race Ducati made it clear they're not about to stand aside and watch others battle it out for the championship. When all dust settled in the wake of Sunday's race in Sepang, and when everything was said and done, it became obvious they had not only been empty words arisen from the need to make the best of a lucky little win-situation for the team.
Ducati was more than game again, with Loris Capirossi challenging Valentino Rossi for the lead up to the very last corner, and Sete Gibernau - returning from recovery - in a respectable 5 the position.
The epic battle between The Doctor and Capirex again showcased why motoGP is considered by many the most spectacular type of motorsport.
After domintaing the qualifiers, Capirex was again taken by surprise by the Doctor in the race itself. The last three laps saw the lead swing back and forth between the two, and finally - with none settling for second place - it all came down to the last curve and straight line before the finish, where - provided he managed a good exit from the last
corner - Capirossi could've put the extra horsepowers the Ducati is capable
of to good use.
He ran too wide, though, exiting the final corner thus allowing Rossi a bit of breathing room and it was all the Doctor needed to bring the Yamaha home for victory.
The real hero of the race however, wasn't either Rossi or Capirossi.
True excellence decided to make an entrance in the shape of Daniel Pedrosa that day. The young spaniard - despite suffering an accident and riding on a sore knee- cruised home in 3rd position, never allowing teammate and overall championship leader Nicky Hayden a shadow of a chance to improve on his 4th.
As said before Sete Gibernau rode in the other "Rosso" in 5th. The top ten was completed by John Hopkins ( 6th), Kenny Roberts Jr. (7th), Casey Stoner (8th), Marco Melandri and Colin Edwards in 9th and 10th respectively.
These latest proceedings have kept Dani Pedrosa in close contention of the title with 192 championship points, followed by Valentino Rossi with 188 and Loris Capirossi with 171.
Thanks to his 4th position finish Nicky hayden holds on to his lead (214 pts).
In the 250cc class Jorge Lorenzo extended his lead to 12 points over rival Andrea Dovizioso and bagged in a nice victory in the process. The race was led early on by Roberto Locatelli taking on the role of the hare, however he ran off the track, and thus earned no points in Sepang.
Alvaro Bautista all but closed the dispute for the 125 cc title, extending the gap between himself and KTM rider Mika Kallio to a commanding 75 points.
The 125 cc race was marred by an unfortunate incident involving Mattia Pasini and Andrea Iannone that caused it to be re-started. Hector Faubel came in 3rd with Julian Simon and Joan Olive completing the top 5.
20.08.2006 – Gauloises Grand Prix Ceske Republiky, Automotodrom Brno
Just when one would’ve thought Ducati was washed out, team members and everything, despite the early-season promises of great things to come, Loris Capirossi once again rose to the challenge and proved why people call him “Capirex”.
He rode the red blooded Ducati purebred, shod with Bridgestone tires, to a surprising if not completely unexpected victory in Sunday’s race in Brno. Correction, rode the bike to victory is not an entirely accurate description of events. He rode it to a dominant victory. Not only did the Italian rider finish 5 seconds ahead of countryman Valentino Rossi, but he also established a fastest lap and never for a second seemed like he was going to let this one slip away leaving the rest of the field eating his taildust all through the race.
Congrats for Ducati and the King for the well deserved win.
Another interesting battle to watch on Sunday was the fight for second place which saw experience and pure talent matched up against youth and strength as Valentino Rossi once again took Dani Pedrosa to school.
The young Repsol Honda rider made a valiant effort reeling in Valentino Rossi from 9th place on the grid, however “Il Dottore” once again showed that besides talent he has something else up his sleeve,no one can really put their finger on, something that still places him miles above the competition, and managed to hold off the young Spaniard to take second position. Dani Pedrosa finished 3rd with teammate and overall championship leader, Nicky Hayden, stumbling in on a below-average performance 9th position.
Kenny Roberts Jr. also seemed to have awakened from a long slumber as he rode his Team Roberts KR211V to 4th position followed by Marco Melandri and Casey Stoner in 5th and 6th.
In the overall championship standings Dani Pedrosa successfully preserved his second position, thanks to his strong performance and 3rd place finish.
Rossi’s good weekend boosts the Italian rider to within 38 points of championship leader Nicky Hayden and assures that the remaining five races of the season will be something to look out for.
In other events on Sunday: in the 125 CC class Alvaro Bautista came in first followed by the ever-present Mika Kallio on the KTM, and Hungary’s Gabor Talmacsi on the Humangest Honda. In the overall championship standings Bautista (230 points) and Mika Kallio (161 points) battle it out for the lead.
The 250 CC class saw Jorge Lorenzo ride to victory, followed by Andrea Dovizioso in second, and Hiroshi Aoyama in 3rd.
Lorenzo and Dovizioso are the two riders in contention for the championship lead, the former with 199 points and the latter with 192.
23.07.2006 - Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, Laguna Seca
Nicky Hayden got away with a victory on Sunday's Redbull U.S. Grand Prix scoring his second win of the season.
Yes, got away, because, despite the fact that the American rider looks increasingly capable of bagging race wins, on Sunday he still looked like he was stealing the game on his home court. That is until Valentino Rossi was forced to abandon with engine problems. Before that Il Dottore looked like he was going to reel in the leading bunch and claim another race win in less than 2 weeks.
After what happened though Hayden came away as a confident winner managing to increase his lead in the riders' overall standings to 34 points.
The Kentucky Kid spent quite some time chasing Pole-position man Chris Vermuelen
but managed to overtake him and cruised home for the win with a 3.186 seconds advantage over teammate Dani Pedrosa.
Marco Melandri put in a nice performance confirming the fact that he's in top shape this season, finishing 3rd in the race and moving up to 3rd position in the riders' championship.
Motivated by the home circuit Kenny Roberts also put in a respectable performance
finishing fourth after Melandri and managing to overtake Vermuelen in the closing stages of the race.
Rookie Australian rider Casey Stoner provided a pleasant surprise as he held on
to the lead for a good part of the race before being reeled in by Hayden. Unfortunately for the young Australian he fell thus ending up as one of three riders not to finish the race.
(Shinya Nakano and Valentino Rossi being the other two)
Rizla Suzuki rider John Hopkins came in 6th followed by Tech 3 Yamaha's Carlos Checa, Ducati's Loris Capirossi and Camel Yamaha's Colin Edwards. Spanish rider Sete Gibernau wrapped up the top 10, quite disappointingly for Ducati as the under-average performances of its two riders continues.
With Valentino Rossi's no-finish race the rider's championship standings took an
unexpected turn yet again, Dani Pedrosa coming up to second - with 160 points -
behind teammate Nicky Hayden, Marco Melandri taking a well deserved 2nd position
- with 150 points - and, as a direct result of no points scored in Laguna Seca: The
Doctor falling all the way back to 4th.
16.07.2006 – betandwin.com MOTORRAD GP DEUTSCHLAND - SACHSENRING
Valentino Rossi is breathing down harder and harder Nicky Hayden’s neck closing the gap separating the two riders in the rider’s championship standings to 26 points and rocketing himself to second place behind the American rider.
At the end of a sensational race in which four riders all looked like they could clinch first place Valentino Rossi’s experience proved to be a decisive factor that secured the Italian rider yet another race win.
Fortuna Honda’s Marco Melandri, pulling out a heroic effort – considering that he raced with a broken collarbone – led the pack of four riders made up by himself, Valentino Rossi, Repsol Honda riders Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa before the last lap but Valentino Rossi was just too much opposition for him today.
( Melandri by the way confirmed the fact that he was on fire before this race squeezing out a best lap time on Friday with a 1’23.145 ).
The four riders battled amongst themselves the entire race taking turns leading, Loris Capirossi came in 5th on the Ducati just ahead of Japanese rider Shinya Nakano. Chris Vermuelen and Sete Gibernau completed the top eight.
Makoto Tamada also put in a nice effort only to crash on lap 13, getting tangled up with Kenny Robert’s bike as the American himself fell. Luckily the hard-riding Japanese got away without any serious injuries.
After this latest episode of the Moto GP drama, unfolded on Sachsenring, the riders’ championship has American Nicky Hayden in first place with 169 points, Italian Valentino Rossi looking to reel him in fast in second with 143 points, Dani Pedrosa in third with 140, followed close by Marco Melandri with 134 in fourth.
After a promising season-start with Ducati Italian rider Loris Capirossi is in 5th position with 118 points.
The next installment of the series will take place on American soil on the 23rd with the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, theoretically making it all the more difficult for Valentino Rossi to close the gap to Nicky Hayden the latter enjoying home-circuit advantage.