Rossi wins accident-strewn MotoGP race

2006-06-18 08:47
Valentino Rossi was victorious in Catalunya to further cut the lead in the MotoGP World Championship , although the race will perhaps be better remembered for a first corner crash which left a number of riders out of the restart.

Contact between Ducati team-mates Sete Gibernau and Loris Capirossi caused both riders to hit the deck, taking with them Marco Melandri, John Hopkins and Randy de Puniet all fell, with the former's condition causing particular concern to onlookers. Melandri, Gibernau and Capirossi were all taken to hospital in Barcelona, where they will undergo tests. First impressions are that all three are not seriously injured, Gibernau suffering a fractured collarbone, Melandri a dislocated acromion and Capirossi abdominal contusions.

Meanwhile the restart was held up because of a problem with Vermeulen's bike on the grid and it was third time lucky as the race got underway. Rossi started slowly from the blocks on the restart, dropping down to sixth before making his way back up through the field. Once the Doctor took the lead however he set about putting some distance between him and the chasing pack, eventually finishing four and a half seconds ahead of second placed man Nicky Hayden. Rossi's eighth career victory at the Circuit de Catalunya brings him within 29 points of the American at the top of the classification.

Nicky Hayden continued his impressive record of podium finishes, following on from his third place in Mugello to take second at the Circuit de Catalunya. The Repsol Honda rider was out on his own for the last portion of the race, not quite close enough to challenge Rossi for the win but under no real pressure from the riders behind him.

Kenny Roberts, starting from the front row for the first time since the 2004 German Grand Prix, ended a six year wait for a rostrum finish to complete a fantastic weekend for the American and Team Roberts. Just behind him was his former teammate John Hopkins, who was involved in the first corner incident, and was just edged out by his countryman Roberts on the final laps, forced to settle for fourth. In a particularly successful day for American riders, Camel Yamaha's Colin Edwards took fifth place.

The Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya was the most successful race of the season for Rizla Suzuki, with Chris Vermeulen joining team-mate Hopkins in the top six. The Australian rookie had delayed the second restart after signalling that his bike had stalled on the approach to the grid, and resisted the urge to push beyond mechanical capabilities and risk missing out on valuable points once the race finally got underway.

Makoto Tamada came in seventh, with Carlos Checa, James Ellison, Alex Hofmann and Jose Luis Cardoso the other riders to finish the race.

There was disappointment for home rider Dani Pedrosa, who had to retire after making contact with Kenny Roberts Jr. The Spaniard was joined on the sidelines by Casey Stoner, who slid off the track from second place after having led from the restart. Shinya Nakano was shown the black flag for not restarting from the back of the grid when he changed machines, completing a frustrating day for Kawasaki Racing, the team having already seen their French rider Randy de Puniet crash out.


Andrea Dovizioso took his long-awaited first 250cc victory in Catalunya, after a heart-stopping final few laps. The clearly delighted Humangest Honda rider held off home rider Jorge Lorenzo and Master MVA Aspar rider Alex de Angelis to head the quarter litre category for the first time.

Lorenzo had charged through on the final five laps after lying several seconds down on the front group, eventually taking second when De Angelis and Locatelli touched going into the first turn, the former 125cc World Champion Locatelli running wide and out of contention for the podium.


Alvaro Bautista took victory in a phenomenal day for the Master MVA Aspar team and their Spanish contingent at the Circuit de Catalunya. Runaway 125cc championship leader Bautista's win came after a studious ride from pole, edging out countrymen Hector Faubel and Sergio Gadea and Italian Mattia Pasini in an all-Aspar top four. Bautista lead in the championship now extends to a massive 56 points.

1st, Valentino Rossi (Yamaha):

"The start was difficult. Normally it is hard to concentrate, but after a crash like the one we saw today it is even more so. I was especially worried about the condition of Marco Melandri, who seemed to come out badly from the first corner incident. Fortunately when I got back to the box Dr Costa told me that the three riders were conscious and were doing ok.

I made a mistake on the second start, and dropped a number of positions. From there I had a full tank and it was difficult to overtake, but once I had caught up with the first group I got faster. I overtook Casey Stoner and saw Nicky's name on the pit board, so I knew that from then on it would be a battle. It has been a great victory for me and improves my championship chances."

2nd, Nicky Hayden (Honda):

"It seemed just like the World Cup, Italy and the USA involved in a tie. All weekend I haven't done so well, in the practices and warm-up, so I knew that it would be hard. When the light goes out you just have to leave it all behind and go out for the victory.

I could see that Valentino was saving his form for the end of the race, so I didn't really think that I could catch him. I'm sorry that the race was so dull after the spectacle in Mugello, perhaps we may have spoilt the fans a little bit this season."

3rd, Kenny Roberts Jr. (KR211V):

"It's been a long time since I was last in this position, I think the last time I felt so good about a race was back in Japan in 2000.

Although I'm on the podium I really wasn't that confident in myself at the beginning of the race, so I just stayed out of trouble, trying to concern myself with my own job. I stabilised myself by the midway point in the race, and from then I rode a bit more steadily and was able to take the third place.

The team have some new stuff ready for Assen, so we'll bring that in and see what we can do. I was just going to sit on the couch this season and watch the races from there, but then my Dad said that he had a ride for me if I wanted it and that Honda would be onboard. I accepted and I'm really happy that I did. We have worked alongside Honda and have found some settings that have allowed us to go much faster."

Source: Dorna Communications

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