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The drama of Valencia 2006

The drama of Valencia 2006

Nicky Hayden achieved the ultimate accolade of being crowned World Champion in the final race of last season at the Gran Premio bwin.com de la Comunitat Valenciana.

Nicky Hayden achieved the ultimate accolade of being crowned World Champion in the final race of last season at the Gran Premio bwin.com de la Comunitat Valenciana.

The American stars third place, coupled with Valentino Rossis early crash, gave Hayden the MotoGP title in a race won by Ducati stand-in Troy Bayliss.

Starting from fifth on the grid, the Repsol Honda rider pulled sharply to the right as the action commenced and nearly touched Rossi, who led him by eight points ahead of the race. But by lap seven Hayden was comfortable in third, a position he stuck in until reaching the chequered flag.

In the pre-race press conference, Hayden was insistent that Rossi was not a choke artist, but that he needed a bad day from the Yamaha rider to take the title. It was an uncharacteristic error on lap four that proved to be Rossis undoing, as he lowsided his Yamaha M1 and was unable to make up enough points upon rejoining the race. The Italian eventually finished 13th.

With all the focus on the overall classification, the fantastic achievement of Troy Bayliss was slightly overshadowed. The Australian rider was standing in for the injured Sete Gibernau to finish the journey of the Ducati Desmosedici 990cc bike which he started back in 2003, and did so in style by leading from the first corner on his 50th Grand Prix appearance.

Bayliss took the early holeshot and was untroubled by team-mate Loris Capirossi, who finished second, as he earned his best ever MotoGP result. Capirossi also had reason to celebrate when he crossed the line, taking third place in the championship.

Dani Pedrosa was alongside Hayden for the second race in a row, but this time there was no reason for friction between the two riders. On the second lap the Spaniard took a wide line to let his team-mate through, and did a sterling job of keeping the rest of the field away from Hayden.

Immediately behind Pedrosa were two other Honda riders, Marco Melandri and Toni Elias. A top six finish topped off a good year for Melandri, who just missed out on third spot in the overall standings, while Toni Elias continued the run of good form which had seen him take victory two weeks previously in Portugal.

Shinya Nakano was seventh in his final ride for Kawasaki, ahead of Kenny Roberts Jr, Colin Edwards and Carlos Checa.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, GRAN PREMIO bwin.com DE LA COMUNITAT VALENCIANA

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