Fortune strikes its final blow at Valencia Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi slid out of the Grand Prix of Valencia today and lost his grip on the MotoGP World Championship for the first time in six years on the final day of an implausibly...
Fortune strikes its final blow at Valencia
Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi slid out of the Grand Prix of Valencia today and lost his grip on the MotoGP World Championship for the first time in six years on the final day of an implausibly dramatic season. Nicky Hayden (Honda) lifted the title after claiming third place behind surprise winner Troy Bayliss and Loris Capirossi (both Ducati), with Rossi recovering to cross the line in 13th place but missing out on the title by just five points.
The fifth lap mishap came after a bad start from Rossi, who looked to be in perfect shape to defend his eight-point advantage going into the race after qualifying on pole position. However, the bad luck that followed the Italian throughout the first half of the season returned to strike its final, decisive blow when the front end of Rossi's YZR-M1 tucked under braking and sent him spinning into the gravel. Another heroic charge from the defending champion saw him recover seven places and brought him back into the points but it wasn't enough to hold off Hayden.
The last ever MotoGP race of the 990cc era, before maximum engine capacity is reduced to 800cc in 2007, also proved to be a let-down for Rossi's Camel Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards. The Texan had shown good pace throughout the weekend but higher track temperatures reaching 430C this afternoon did not suit the set-up of his machine and he was unable to reproduce that practice form. After starting tenth on the grid he made up one place to finish ninth, a result that lifted him to seventh in the final championship standings.
Colin Edwards (9th; +26.072)
"Well, obviously that was a disaster from all angles! After two or three laps I lost the front a couple of times but I'm not really sure why. We chose a soft front here but it was the same one as in Motegi and Estoril and it had worked great all weekend here. Today it was quite a lot hotter so maybe that's what did for us. Basically from then on I couldn't turn it properly, I had to put it all on the knee and slow right down to turn, otherwise I was going straight on. I was really feeling that I might crash any minute and I had to follow Hopkins for the whole race; without any corner speed I just couldn't get the jump to pass him. It's a disappointing end to a difficult season for me. I want to say a huge thank you to my team and everyone at Yamaha for all their work throughout the year; they've never given up and I'm sorry that we couldn't finish on a better note. Bad luck to Valentino, he's shown once again how good he is this season and I'm sorry for him and for the whole team. It's all over for another year but we'll both be back in March with the new bike, ready to get some serious revenge!"
Valentino Rossi (13th; +38.546)
"Of course this is a big disappointment for me because to arrive at the final race with an eight-point advantage and then not win the title is a disaster. Basically I made two mistakes today - one was at the start and then the second one was the crash. It has been a very emotional season, with some great moments, some bad luck and now some mistakes. But this is racing. All I can say now is a big 'congratulations' to Nicky because he is a great guy, a great rider and he is the World Champion because he has been the best this year. I have known him a long time, I know his family well and even though I am disappointed I am also very happy for them. It has been a great fight with him this year - not like in the past with other riders when there have always been some polemics - and we have great respect for each other. I want to say a huge thank you to Yamaha, to all my team and engineers and to everyone else involved, they've done an amazing job this year and now I am looking forward to working towards next season with the 800; I am sure it will be another exciting season and another big battle!" Davide Brivio - Camel Yamaha Team Director "It is normal that the feeling now within the team is one of disappointment but we are also proud that we brought this fight to the final round after all the bad luck we had in the first half of the season. Valentino has worked incredibly hard and shown on several occasions why he has been such a great World Champion - even today he kept on fighting to the very end. It is a sad day for us but we are already looking to the future with great excitement about the new 800cc era and the chance to win the title back in 2007. I want to thank all our riders, team staff, sponsors and technical partners for their excellent work this season and, from our behalf, congratulations to Nicky Hayden."
Checa ends his tenure with Tech 3 Yamaha Team scoring another top 10 result It was a fitting result for the current Tech 3 Yamaha Team as Carlos Checa, in his swansong for the team brought his Yamaha home in 10th place after a hard fought tussle at the Grand Prix of Valencia at the Ricardo Tormo circuit won by Australian, Troy Bayliss on a Ducati. After starting from 16th position on the grid Carlos battled his way through a number of other factory machines showing the determination that has attracted the appreciation of many in the Grand Prix worldand again demonstrating the impressive improved performance of the Dunlop tyres the team has used this year. Carlos came close to being the first Yamaha home as he followed Colin Edwards home by less than two seconds after defending world champion, Valentino Rossi made a very rare mistake when he crashed although he remounted to finish in 13th position Team mate James Ellison finished his time with the Tech 3 team in the points finishing in 14th position after battling handling problems with his machine.
Carlos Checa (10th, Fastest lap 1'33.944)
"It was a very good race. I got a start that was not so bad and I was with a group fighting for 10th to 15th position then Valentino crashed. I feel sorry for them because they lost the championship. Finally, I finished in the top 10 but it wasn't easy at the beginning. I was extremely happy with the performance of the tyre as it stayed very stable and this gave me the opportunity to pass some riders and I ended up quite close to Colin. This will give the team a good reference for us considering Colin's team is using another tyre brand and it shows how much Dunlop has improved. I feel very close to Yamaha but very sad as it is the day I leave this team, Dunlop and Yamaha and after this year I feel so very satisfied as we always fought to improve as it was never easy to get better to bring the bikes and tyres as good as possible. I feel that this is one of my best seasons considering how the season started as it was quite difficult an intense. This team gave me the chance to continue competing to learn more about tyre, and in the human aspects we had a very close relationship with many positive things. We must be very satisfied now. It is something hard to explain at this moment why I am leavingbecause I want to challenge for a better position in races and I know if they continue here I need more time to develop to get into a more competitive position. At least I left something very important, some progress, some results and some improvements so they can keep working and growing. This is the kind of year I will not forget for sureas like I said it has probably been my most satisfying in al the years I have spent in the Grand Prix. I'd like to thank Herve, Yamaha, Dunlop and the entire team for allowing me to learn more about riding, development and about myself and know that we will part as good friends."
James Ellison (14th, Fastest lap 1'35.311)
"For me the race was pretty disappointing as the chatter problem was still with us. All year it has been much the same. We ran the same tyre as Carlos but I've been running a different spec Yamaha all year to what Carlos runs. Getting the setup has been very, very difficult. No matter what we run the chatter problems has been persisting. After four laps the chattering is there. It's either a case of ride with it or if I try to ride through it. If I try and ride though it I will crash like happened in Assen and yesterday during qualifying. When things go well and the bike is working I know I can run the times but when I'm riding something that is chattering every corner and it is so close to the limit all the time it makes this impossible. After today I'm wrecked trying to hang onto it. But saying that, I'd like to say I really appreciate the work and the effort Herve and the team have put in. Truthfully the team has been unbelievable all year. I only wish that there were a few things that were different that may have given me the chance of scoring some results I know I'm capable of. I would love to be staying with the team as well to continue the hard work we have all put in but that isn't possible, so I'd just like to say thanks to them all and hope that one day I can return to the MotoGP paddock."
Herve Poncharal - Tech 3 Yamaha Team Director
"It was an incredible day today. Firstly, I feel sorry for Yamaha and Valentino who lost the championship today but that is racing. I am very sorry about that. I am very happy for our last race with Carlos as he showed much fighting spirit because he started 16th and he passed a lot of guys. His pace was very close to that of the leaders for a lot of the race and he caught many riders on other tyres. He eventually passed Hopkins and was closing on Colin to be just two seconds away at the end so we went close to being the first Yamaha - and on Dunlop. That says a lot. We have definitely improved so much during the year but we still have to concentrate on qualifying tyres but if you look at the last few races - apart from Motegi - the second part of the season really showed consistency and a big improvement. Thank you to Carlos and well done Dunlop. We go again with Dunlop next year and together with the new tyre rule and the 800cc capacity everything is much more open and we are very positive so it's good to end up with a race like this. The only sad thing for us is that we say goodbye to Carlos as he has done so much for us. I want to wish him all the best and good luck for what he is doing and thanks again for what he has done. I would also like to say thanks to James as well. I know that he tried very hard all year to come to grips with the bike and the tyres but unfortunately it didn't work out. Like Carlos I would like to wish him the best for anything he does in the future."
-credit: yamaha racing