News Report 24 July 2006
United States

2006 MotoGP Laguna Seca

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Laguna Seca
3610 m
07 / 23 / 2006
Time to be confirmed

Rossi's American comeback thwarted at Laguna Seca


Please note that due to technical difficulties the Saturday qualifying report has not been sent. The report can be read on We apologise for any inconveniences caused.

What looked certain to be another stunning race recovery from Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi ended in disaster today as the reigning MotoGP World Champion retired from the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca with tyre and engine troubles. After starting from tenth on the grid Rossi slowly worked his way through the field and with just five laps remaining he was on course for a valuable fourth place finish. However, with blazing sunshine bringing track temperatures up to a soaring 56ºC, the punishing conditions inevitably took their toll and Rossi’s rear tyre developed a problem, which forced the Italian to drop his pace. To add to Rossi’s woes, his the water-cooling system then malfunctioned and within moments the engine of his YZR-M1 machine overheated, blowing clouds of smoke into the air and bringing his participation in the race to an end.

Things started out brightly for Rossi’s Camel Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards before also ending in disappointment, the Texan getting a decent start from the front row of the grid and lapping with the lead group before identical tyre troubles began to kick in. With the searing heat also playing havoc on his physical condition, having suffered from flu symptoms and an upset stomach throughout the weekend, Edwards was unable to maintain his pace and he dropped back from fifth place to eventually cross the line in ninth. Nicky Hayden (Honda) took his second victory of the season to extend his advantage at the top of the championship to 51 points over Rossi, who has dropped to fourth overall with six rounds remaining.

Colin Edwards (9th; +53.228)
“My start wasn’t great; I got off the line okay but then as I leaned over into turn one the power went a bit and I got slower and slower, so a few guys came past me. After that I just had to give it all I had to hold on and do 24.1s and 2s, which anyway is faster than we were doing on race tyres yesterday. I also had a bit of a problem stopping the bike, which was another thing to contend with. After ten laps I was completely wrecked, I think being ill on Friday took a lot out of me and suddenly I had no power left in my body. I was feeling so bad that I was seriously considering coming in, but then I saw Stoner crash and so I thought I had better hold on and try and get some points! On about lap 20 the tyre started spinning up and it just kept on getting worse and worse on each lap. I had a few big moments where I scared myself a bit, especially coming into turn one a few laps from the end. With about three or four laps to go I looked over at my rear tyre and saw just how bad the problem was, and it was all I could do to bring it safely home. Obviously I’m pretty gutted, the weekend hasn’t worked out how we hoped, but that’s racing!”
Valentino Rossi (DNF)
“We’ve been in a really difficult situation all weekend, with a lot of problems and unfortunately things got even worse today! We made a big improvement this morning in warm-up and I was much faster, so I thought that maybe we could do a good job in the race and to start with we made good progress from our grid position. But then we had a problem with the rear tyre and I lost all grip and was forced to slow right down in order not to crash. Then we had a problem with the water-cooling system for the engine, it overheated and when I saw the smoke, I knew it was over. Anyway, now we’re 51 points down on Hayden with only six races left, so for the first time I will race for the rest of the season without thinking about the pressure of the championship. My plan is to have a lot of fun over the remaining races and try to win as many as possible, and then who knows what might happen?”

Davide Brivio - Camel Yamaha Team Director
“It’s been a very difficult day from every angle. We had two separate problems of a different nature which affected both riders. Colin could have done a really good race but he was hampered by his physical condition and then later by a problem with his rear tyre. Valentino had exactly the same problem with his tyre and then when he slowed down the cooling system on his engine failed and it overheated, so he had to retire. Now we’re a lot of points behind in the championship and we have a mountain to climb, but we won’t give up and we will fight to the end.”

Tech 3 Yamaha Team secures season best result at Laguna Seca

On the eve of the summer break, the Tech 3 Yamaha Team has secured a season best result with Carlos Checa finishing in seventh position proving that the persistence and dedication the team has put in since the stat of the year is paying dividends.

The race was run in the most severe conditions but Carlos showed his fitness and determination to also be the first Yamaha home after the demise of Valentino Rossi.

James Ellison started on fire to make up plenty of ground from his grid position but he too was affected by tyre wear in the middle of the race before recovering to finish in the points in 13th position.
Carlos Checa (7th; +44.825)
“We are very satisfied with the result. We made a good position at the beginning of the race to be behind Valentino and Nakano and I was able to keep the gap to them. Then in the middle of the race the tyre dropped down a bit in performance because of the heat and so I struggled the last five or six laps. The final result in seventh is the best result so far so we must be very happy considering the conditions for the entire weekend it was not easy for us. We made the choice of a tyre for the race that we haven’t tested before so overall we have to be satisfied as we struggled a little on this track. Finally, after the risk we take with the tyre choice to finish in this position the team is very happy. Yes we were the first Yamaha home but it has been a shame for Yamaha this year. I think Colin had some trouble with is tyre and for Valentino he is always putting in more than 100% and he doesn’t have much luck this year. At the end of the day I am part of Yamaha and I am disappointed for that. Yes it is nice to be first Yamaha but I would like to do it in normal conditions – that is the right satisfaction that I want.”

James Ellison (13th; +1.19.283)
“That was one hard race but at the start I was feeling very good. I got a great start to be away with Tamada and De Puniet and I thought I was in for a good battle. For quite a few laps I was with them but then the front tyre started to go away and I had some big moments. The front tyre was moving around quite a bit with the rise in temperature and with me trying to brake a little harder as I wanted to pass these guys the tyres was just a bit soft and I lost a lot of confidence in it so I just started dropping back. Then I thought to myself ‘I’m not doing this again as it looks like I’m not trying hard enough so I thought I’m going for it. If I crash I crash but it was actually still turning even though it was squashing like mad. That gave me confidence as even though it was moving around heaps it was still gripping. I was getting quicker towards the end and the bikes in front were getting closer. Plus I could see all these flags around the track with people cheering me so I had a really good race towards the end of it. It’s just a pity that I had those moments in the middle of the race. I should’ve just bitten the bullet and pushed through that. We all got some points so everyone can go away from here happy.”

Herve Poncharal - Tech3 Yamaha Team Director
“This is for sure the best result we have had so far. It’s also a great way to finish the first half of the season to go on holiday and enjoy them. We knew today was going to be a very tiring race as the temperature was so hot and from practice we saw a lot of guys struggling. We took a big gamble for the race as we started with something for Carlos that we have never tested before and it was quite hard to go into the race without knowing what was going to happen. To finish seventh which is our best race position so far this year to be first Yamaha is really showing that the technical project is really working well. We are happy because we are improving all the time and I think Carlos did a beautiful job the whole weekend long like he did in Germany James did a good job as he was very consistent the entire race and I think that with a bit more consistency he could have caught one or two rider in front of him because he was definitely faster than them towards the end of the race. But anyway let’s be positive. Both our riders are in the points, no tyre problems and were really consistent from lap one to the end so we can be happy with that. Let’s go on holiday and continue to work hard when we return in a few weeks time.”