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Hayden and Pedrosa react to collision

Hayden and Pedrosa react to collision

Hayden and Pedrosa react to collision

Although MotoGP Team Champions in 2006, the two Repsol Honda riders didn't help each others' cause in the fight for individual glory. Nicky Hayden arrived at Estoril in control of the championship, and could even have ended the day as World Champion. Dani Pedrosa still had a small outside chance to take the title depending on his rivals' results, but when the Spaniard made a daring move on his team-mate on lap four and took both himself and the Kentucky Kid out of the race, one of their hopes of a maiden title was ended and the other was severely hit.

Hayden was in a fit of rage after sliding into the gravel, unable to pick up his bike and attempt to rejoin the race. Pedrosa gave no immediate reaction to events, and the two made little attempt at communication. It had previously been announced that there were no team orders in the Repsol Honda camp, something which perhaps explained Pedrosa's bold attacks. The Spaniard denied that he was trying to pass his team-mate on the corner.

"I don't know what to say really – it just hurts. I had a really hard tyre on for the race, especially for the left handers, and it came in and I couldn't believe how comfortable I felt in the first few laps. I was a lot faster than Edwards and I'd just made up my mind that I'd pass him right there on the brakes and I felt I could go and see what Valentino had," said Hayden in a reflective mood, before turning his attention to the relationship between himself and his team-mate.

"I don't expect Dani to pull over and let me by but I definitely didn't expect him to do that. We're professionals and Dani did come to my motorhome and talk to me afterwards and we shook hands. I've proved this weekend that I wasn't going to give up without a fight and even now I believe I'm pretty strong. This was not one of my best tracks and I've come here and gone quick – I was fastest in one session, got on the front row and had a good race pace. I need Dani's help now because anything could happen in Valencia, so I hope his hand's ok. I told him there's a way to make it up to me and that's if we run one-two in Valencia then the championship's still possible. It's racing."

Pedrosa expressed his regret for the incident, but was insistent that it was not typical of his riding style and that it was an honest mistake.

"What can I say? I made a mistake and I'm really sorry. It's the first time I've hit another rider in my career – it's never happened before in practice or racing in six years and it's happened at the worst moment that I could do it. Obviously I'm very unhappy and Nicky is not happy and I just want to apologize because I made a mistake. I said sorry to Nicky and I can understand that he is very upset – I wish I could change it. I didn't want to pass him at that moment. I braked and my rear wheel came off the ground and then it touched the ground again, I got a little more speed. I couldn't stop the bike and there was nowhere to go. I have a fracture in my little finger but we have time for it to be ok for Valencia."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2006, bwin.com GRANDE PREMIO DE PORTUGAL, RAC

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