News Report 18 June 2006

2006 MotoGP Catalunya

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4727 m
att 107000
06 / 18 / 2006
Time to be confirmed

Rossi takes second successive win from dramatic Barcelona affair


Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi emerged from a crash-strewn race at Catalunya with 25 more points to boost his world title defence, thanks to his third Grand Prix victory of the season at Montmelo today. One of the most dramatic races in recent history began to unfold from the first corner, when Sete Gibernau (Ducati) collided with his team-mate Loris Capirossi under braking and both riders went tumbling into the gravel at high speed, taking Marco Melandri (Honda) with them. All three riders were injured and unable to join the restarted race after the red flags were subsequently raised, although John Hopkins (Suzuki), Randy de Puniet (Kawasaki) and Dani Pedrosa (Honda) did make it back to the grid after also running off track during the first corner melee.

Casey Stoner (Honda) repeated the excellent start he got at the first race start, taking the hole-shot and then leading over the first eight laps before eventually folding under constant pressure from Rossi and sliding into the gravel. With extremely high temperatures and low grip levels several other riders also crashed out, leaving Nicky Hayden (Honda) as the only man capable of chasing the Italian. With less than a second separating the pair for most of the race, Rossi turned on the style with typical flair in the closing stages and had opened out a 4.509 second advantage over the American when he took the chequered flag.

With no fewer than eight riders failing to make it to the end of the race it was a credit to Rossi’s team-mate Colin Edwards that he arrived home in fifth place, collecting some valuable championship points and more crucial data with the new version of the YZR-M1 chassis that was available to him on both bikes for the first time this season. The American’s compatriots Hayden and Kenny Roberts (Team KR) completed the podium.
Valentino Rossi (1st; 41’31.237)
“The start of the race was hard for everybody because we were all very worried about the riders who crashed – especially Marco Melandri because we could see his accident was a bad one. Just before the start Doctor Costa told me that Marco was more or less ok and I was very relieved. Even then it was tough to concentrate on re-starting the race. I made a mistake at the start and Stoner came past me, but my bike was working so well that I was able to push from the beginning and when the fuel came down it was even better. I knew that some of the other riders were having trouble with their tyres but my team have done a great job with Michelin this weekend and I had lots of grip to the end. Hayden pushed very hard but I kept my pace up and was able to extend the advantage over him. The M1 has been so much fun to ride all weekend and I want to say a big thank you to the whole team for getting it to this stage. To win at two of my favourite tracks like Mugello and Catalunya is a big, big satisfaction for me.”
Colin Edwards (5th; +22.548)
“I can’t say I’m happy because I feel we missed a chance to finish on the podium today, but we’re at an early stage with this chassis and we have made a lot of progress this weekend. We felt we had found a good compromise with the set-up in practice but the grip levels were low in the race and I kept losing the front. It’s a difficult problem to ride around because it’s a fine line between pushing it so hard that it folds and not pushing it enough to get the required load down to the track. I’m disappointed but I was very close to the incident in turn one and I know it could have been me in the ambulance, so things could have been worse for me. It was a big shock for all of us but thankfully nobody was seriously hurt and we all hope the injured riders can be back with us soon.”

Davide Brivio – Camel Yamaha Team Director
“Of course we are delighted with the result and the confirmation of the progress with our bike. We now know that we have a competitive package for our riders so we hope we can fight like this every weekend until the end of the season. We said this was an important spell for us and I am delighted with the way the team, the riders and the bike have responded. Now we have just five days to the next one at Assen and we have to try and do it all over again!”
Carlos Checa (8th, fastest lap 1’44.171)
“That is one of the strangest races I have ever been in and I hope that everyone is fine. This is the sort of result I have been looking for. I am very happy with the race. It doesn’t matter where we finished. What is important to me is that we have found the consistency to be able to push hard for the whole race. Also another thing that I am very happy with is the lap times that we can do now. We know now that we can keep a good pace and are able to fight for positions until the end. I had a good fight with Tamada and we were able to pass each other a few times. It is good to be back in this position. To do so many laps that are so close together means that we are improving all the time and we will be even closer as the year goes on. The other positives for us are with our lap times with Edwards and some others. We are much closer to them than a few races ago, so I hope we can improve and get some extra help from Dunlop and Yamaha for the next races ahead. This result will give everyone extra motivation to keep improving and with two races so soon it will be another chance for us to improve our consistency and race result.

James Ellison (9th. fastest lap 1’45.108)
“I’m pretty happy with the result and chuffed for my team and Dunlop. They have been working so hard all year to get this. I’m a bit disappointed that I couldn’t do the same lap times as we did in warm-up but we are learning things all the time that we can use in future races. We learnt some things with suspension this weekend and I’m feeling more comfortable that I have ever felt and now I am able to slide and push hard. Because I’m feeling so much better on the bike I am not suffering from arm-pump because of hanging on so tightly, so I’m able to relax on it a bit more and let the bike do the work. We are improving the consistency of the Dunlop tyres better all the time. We still have a bit of trouble with side grip but I think with the banked corners at Assen this will not be so much of a problem. The traction of the Dunlop tyres has improved a lot as well. All these factors show that we are making progress all the time.”

Herve Poncharal - Tech3 Yamaha Team Director
“We are very happy but are disappointed that the race had to be overshadowed by the accident that injured Loris, Marco and Sete. This is the sort of result the team and Dunlop have been working very hard to achieve and to be just over 30 seconds behind the leaders is the best news no matter what position we finished in. Clearly the work done since France and Mugello is starting to pay off and now we have found a good rhythm and consistency. We did a good race pace on Saturday and again in the warm-up this morning and to do similar ties in the race is very encouraging. Carlos did 17 laps all in the 1:44 second bracket and these continued right until the second last lap so that proves that we have the consistency we have been searching for. This is only the seventh race of the year and we have made big progress since the first round and this result with Carlos and James will motivate the team and Dunlop to work even harder. We are a bit disappointed that all the rides could not compete as I think we would’ve had a good result with everyone out there. To be posting similar laps to Colin is another indication that we are getting closer all the time. We now have two races back to back that will see the progress continue and hopefully we will be even closer to the leading riders.