News Report 24 June 2006
Netherlands

2006 MotoGP Assen

View results Track information
Assen
4555 m
att 100000
06 / 24 / 2006
Time to be confirmed
23°

Edwards misses out on first win as Rossi brings home the points

Race

Camel Yamaha Team rider Colin Edwards came within metres of his first MotoGP World Championship victory today after dominating the Dutch TT until a breathtaking finale at Assen. Starting from the front row of the grid Edwards led the way from the first turn and set an electrifying pace that only American compatriot Nicky Hayden (Honda) was able to follow. With two laps remaining Hayden closed in and made his first lunge for the lead, forcing Edwards off the track and onto the escape road. The ‘Texan Tornado’ looked consigned to second place but he produced a stunning fight-back to pull level with Hayden on the final lap and retake the lead with just a few corners to go. When Hayden launched one last attack into the final chicane, only to run straight onto the gravel, Edwards seemed certain to win but there was one final twist in the tale as he ran onto the grass on the exit from the corner and lost control of his YZR-M1 machine, which threw him into the air. As Edwards slid to the ground within touching distance of the finish line Hayden returned to the track to snatch his first win of the season, leaving the Yamaha man to pick his bike up and limp across the line in 13th place.

Edwards’ Camel Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi also produced one of his best rides of the season so far as he battled through the pain of cracked bones in his hand and ankle to take the flag in eighth place. Rossi started from the very back of the grid after struggling to qualify with the injury he picked up during Thursday morning’s free practice session. However he made up ten positions in a brave ride to seal eight valuable championship points.
Valentino Rossi (8th; +23.591)
“That was a really hard race for me but Doctor Costa, Marco Montanari and the entire Clinica Mobile team did a great job on my hand and I was able to race until the end. I was in some pain, especially at the start and I wasn’t able to ride at 100% of my ability, but it was okay. At the start I was worried how it would go, but when the adrenalin kicked in I started to feel like I could race and by the time we got to the midway point I was feeling much better and having some fun. I lost strength in my hand over the last three laps but I was able to hang on and we picked up some decent points in eighth place. The team have done a great job this weekend in difficult conditions. I wasn’t able to do many laps in practice so they didn’t have much data but the bike and the tyres felt great so I have to say a big thanks to everybody. I feel very sorry for Colin – he rode a great race and he was unlucky to make the mistake at the end because he deserved to win.”
Colin Edwards (13th; +40.412)
“What can I say? Obviously I’m really disappointed because I know I should have won that race. The bike felt great from the start and I was really enjoying riding it out there. I knew my pace in practice would be hard for the other guys to cope with and that’s how it proved to be. I got the start I wanted and just kept my head down, doing those times. When Nicky came up inside me two laps from the end he left the pass pretty late and there was nowhere for me to turn the bike into. I had to go straight and luckily it was at a point of the track where I could run back on again. I was determined not to lose hold of him and just gave it everything to give myself a chance on the last lap. I got past him and then tried to keep a really defensive line out of the final corner – I had no idea Nicky had run onto the gravel otherwise I wouldn’t have needed to do it. Unfortunately I ran it a bit too tight onto the grass and the rear just spun up as I opened the throttle and it threw me off. I’m gutted but fair play to Nicky, it was a great race.”

Davide Brivio – Camel Yamaha Team Director
“It was a great race and Colin missed out on the win by just a few metres. It’s disappointing because we could already taste the victory champagne and we didn’t expect that final twist. He made some wonderful moves on the last lap and he didn’t deserve to go down like that, but that’s racing! Valentino also rode brilliantly today, surprising everybody once again with his mental and physical strength. As a team we are very proud of both our riders today.”
Another top 10 result for Tech 3 Yamaha Team at Assen
The evolution of Tech 3 Yamaha Team continued at the A-Style TT Assen as Carlos Checa furnished the team with another milestone when he climbed into the Top 10 for the second time in a week to finish in ninth position. Nicky Hayden (Honda) was the one to claim the win. Tech 3 team-mate, James Ellison didn't fair as well, crashing at the start of the fourth lap while in 12th place - right behind Carlos. It's a disappointing result for James who now heads to his home Grand Prix at Donington next week (July 2) suffering an ankle injury. With the improved results of the last two races, the Tech 3 Yamaha Team has doubled its points haul in the championship, inspiring the entire team to reach new heights in the upcoming Grands Prix to compliment the solid progression of recent weeks.

Carlos Checa (8th, Fastest lap 1'38.119)
"This is a very satisfying result for all of us as now we are in a fight with other riders. In the beginning of the race I tried to follow Melandri and Pedrosa but they started going away and I couldn't stay with them. It was better to stay with my pace as the feeling from the front wasn't so good. I caught and passed Tamada then step by step I also got by Vermeulen. I saw Rossi coming and by that time the chatter from the front increased. I also tried to stay with him but as the chatter was quite bad at that stage it was better to finish than risk a crash after all the hard work the team has done. We have to learn now where that is coming from as now we are going faster but we are also much closer to the front than at the beginning of the year. Dunlop has been putting in a very good effort and it is not easy from inside the box, I can tell you, but we have improved to be fighting with very strong rivals. We have made many steps in the last two races and now we are just one second off the top guys so this is the next step we have to work on. I am now able to fight and this is a lot more fun for me. When we compete with other riders it is much better than just trying to be the first Dunlop rider home. Now we hope that the improvements get us even closer in the next races.

James Ellison (DNF Fastest lap 1'39.002)
"Obviously I'm very disappointed but there are positives to take out of this weekend. I had a pretty good start as I've got a little trick I've been working on. I feel really comfortable on the bike and am able to be a bit more aggressive if anyone tries to get past and have the confidence to throw it back in front of them without hesitating when I see a front wheel coming alongside. I got in a pretty good position and stayed with Carlos but, going into Turn One I went in a little too hot and lost the front. I was trying real hard because I was comfortable and that's what you do. This is one meeting where I wanted to do really well as things are progressing nicely now and I wanted to use this as a springboard for Donington next week but now I've done a bit of damage to my ankle. It's pretty hard to walk on but with a week off some physio and ice packs I hope to be right. Besides being pretty mad at myself, I'm sorry for the team because they have been working non stop all year and they deserved to get a half decent result as well. Hopefully we can do something next week"

Herve Poncharal - Tech3 Yamaha Team Director
"We are very happy. Happy with the race result and also happy with the qualifying. We have made another step from Barcelona. We may have finished ninth instead of eighth like last week but we are closer to the front which is the most important thing. We are definitely now racing, as we have Vermeulen on the factory Suzuki and Bridgestones as well as Tamada on a factory Honda and Michelins behind us. We are now in the mid field so it proves we have made big improvements. I'm disappointed for James because he was going very well and was right with Carlos when he lost the front end. Otherwise I think he would have had a very encouraging result for him too. Both riders were quick in qualifying and both riders were strong in the race. We had stable tyres until the end of the race and the lap times are very consistent. Apart from the first four we had similar lap times to many others so that is very encouraging. We now go to Donington where normally Dunlop tyres perform well. We are looking for an improvement in all areas again next week and keep the progression going."