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The tale of the 2006 World Title will arrive at an epic finale in the next two races, with the contrasting results of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden providing fans with a cliffhanger ending. The lead roles in the story belong to the defending champion and the nearly season-long series leader, at least according to readers. The three supporting players, Marco Melandri, Loris Capirossi and Dani Pedrosa, were only considered serious contenders for the crown by 20% of the 26,000 voters in a recent survey.

In another post-Motegi survey, the common consensus was that Hayden had let the title slip through his fingers. 73% of a massive 47,000 voters went for Rossi as their shoe-in for the 2006 Championship, echoing a trend that has continued throughout the year.

This week, is asking which of the three mathematical possibilities will be Hayden's fate after Portugal. In theory he could leave Estoril with his first ever premier class title, still head the classification heading into Valencia, or drop below Rossi in the standings for the first time this season.

MotoGP, 2006, GRANDE PREMIO DE PORTUGAL, Valentino Rossi

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