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United States GP: Race

United States GP: Race

United States GP: Race

Today in the Re-Live section of MotoGP.com, we go back to last season´s Red Bull USA Grand Prix, marking its return to the calendar for the first time since 1995.

Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda) tasted his first World Championship victory at Laguna Seca. It had been a wait of five years since an American stepped up to the top step of the podium, and it was appropriate that it should happen at his home Grand Prix. The Yamaha Factory Team riders balanced out the rostrum, with Colin Edwards completing an American one-two and Valentino Rossi finishing third.

Despite failing to win the race, Rossi increased his advantage in the overall classification to an enormous 79 points over second placed Marco Melandri (Telefónica Movistar) and Repsol Honda´s Max Biaggi in third. After his fifth position at Laguna Seca, Sete Gibernau (Telefónica Movistar) continued his disappointing season off the pace in fourth position overall.

Hayden led from start to finish, having qualified on pole. Not so lucky were Alex Barros (Honda Pons) and Telefónica Movistar´s Melandri, after they collided in the first corner and were forced to retire.

Starting strongly at the head of the grid, Hayden tried to open up a gap between himself and the pursuing pack. Rossi stuck with him, whilst behind a bunch formed containing Sete Gibernau, who had started fantastically and had moved up nine places in only four laps. He fought especially hard with Max Biaggi, who before protecting himself in the first third had overtaken Gibernau to secure himself fourth place.

The Ducati rider Carlos Checa fell on lap seven, where he was fighting with Troy Bayliss (Honda Pons) for sixth place in an entertaining duel.

Going hell for leather on the Repsol Honda, Hayden was each lap putting more and more decimals of a second between him and the persistent Rossi. His countryman Edwards took advantage of a great lap to place himself in the slipstream of the World Championship leader.

In lap fifteen, "The Corkscrew" gave Edwards the opportunity to overtake his teammate, and the Texan set off like a rocket to get clear from Rossi and try to make up ground on Hayden. Now in third place, the Italian had to be wary of Biaggi and Gibernau, who were coming back strongly.

In the final laps, Gibernau was unable to maintain the intensity and had given up in his pursuit of Biaggi´s Repsol Honda.

The distance Hayden had created proved too much for Edwards, and the Honda rider controlled the race until the chequered flag. Rossi had gritted his teeth and tried to bring himself up to second place, but finished third, with Biaggi and Gibernau behind him in fourth and fifth respectively.

Troy Bayliss secured sixth, after leading a group in which he had to put up with pressure from Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda), John Hopkins (Red Bull Suzuki) and Shinya Nakano (Kawasaki Racing). The only rider on the grid who knew what it was like to win at the Californian track, Ducati´s Loris Capirossi, rounded off the top ten.

Ruben Xaus managed the eleventh spot, whilst fellow countryman Toni Elías added points to his tally after finishing thirteenth on his return to the MotoGP World Championship.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2006

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