MotoGP > MotoGP 2006 Round 03: Turkey GP > Race Results
MotoGPTurkeyApril 30, 2006
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 03
Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park Race Results

Honda Men Monopolize Podium in MotoGP Thriller

Qualifying >>

This will be remembered as the race when the 2006 rookies showed the grid precisely why they’re riding in MotoGP. Marco Melandri (Fortuna Honda RC211V) won the race from Casey Stoner (LCR Honda RC211V) with Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) third. But Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC211V), who fell on the last lap, was another sensation in a compelling race.



Marco Melandri


Casey Stoner


After yesterday’s rain, the clouds threatened but failed to deliver another deluge and the 22-lap MotoGP contest got underway in dry conditions. Poleman Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) got the holeshot into turn one followed by Sete Gibernau (Ducati) and early front man John Hopkins (Suzuki).

But behind this early lead trio lay the eventual bosses of this race: Hayden in fourth, then Stoner and Melandri. Dani, who started from row six after a fruitless qualifying effort had already fought his way his way to 13th by the end of lap one. Melandri, who endured a fifth row start after an equally troubled qualifying performance had shot up to sixth via a lightning-quick launch.

Gibernau had assumed the lead by the end of lap one with Hopkins and Vermeulen in second and third followed by Stoner, Melandri and Hayden. Dani was still scything though the field and by lap three he lay ninth. He then set an early fastest lap of 1m 53.884s on the next circuit of the 5.430km track.

As Vermeulen dropped off the pace Stoner, Hayden and Melandri matched it, then bettered it to put the chase on the lead duo of Gibernau and Hopkins. As the early pressure began to tell, the group of nine riders who had been covered by just three seconds in the early laps began to drift further apart.

Gibernau still held the initiative at the front, but Stoner’s pressure on Hopkins began to tell and by lap eight, the order was Gibernau, Stoner, Melandri, then Pedrosa, who had now slotted in another fastest lap of 1m 53.305s. By lap ten Dani was third.

Exactly on mid-race distance the pattern was set as Gibernau faded and Melandri led the pack into turn one on lap 11. Pedrosa lay second, Hayden third and Stoner fourth. Then Dani turned the screw and stole the lead from Melandri at the final turn complex at the end of lap 11.

Four Honda riders now controlled the race from the front and with eventual fourth-place finisher Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) sitting in fifth, more than six seconds adrift of the leaders, it was clear that, barring a mass crash, the podium places would be disputed among the fast foursome.

With three laps to go Stoner held a 0.6 second advantage over Melandri, with Pedrosa in close attendance and Hayden losing touch by a second and a half as the finale loomed. Melandri had tasted his first ever MotoGP win here last year and there was a feeling his experience might count on the last lap.

Sure enough mistakes were made. Dani lost the front on the entry to turn one and crashed out to remount and finish 14th. It was a sad end to a glorious ride. Stoner now had only Melandri to deal with, but ‘Macio’ is a tough customer with two years’ experience in the class. He made it tell with a rugged out-braking manoeuvre into the final complex and Stoner could do nothing to resist.

Melandri said, “I thought that would be a good race and I was right. But from row five I had no idea I’d be involved at the front. I got a really good start and the bike was great in these conditions on the day. But Casey is hard to beat and now it’s going to get harder and harder, he rode amazingly well today.”

Stoner seemed happy with second, even though he so narrowly missed out on matching the record of Freddie Spencer as the youngest ever winner of a premier class race at 20 years and 196 days old.

He said, “I didn’t know how big the group was, and when I realized there was only a few of us, I ran the race knowing I’d have to close on people at some stage. It was great riding with all those others and seeing how much they all move about. You’ve got to be a bit careful with these bikes because they don’t stop as fast as a 250 either.”

Nicky was sanguine about his third place. “I had a front brake problem on the startline when the tyre warmer melted onto one of the brake discs. The brakes were never right and I was missing apexes everywhere. I couldn’t get into a rhythm so I’m a bit disappointed overall. But I suppose leading the World Championship by a point is a consolation.”

Dani said, “Until the last lap I think the race was good. I got a good start and recovered a lot of positions at the beginning. Then I got into a very good rhythm and I was able to overtake riders and catch the leaders, which was the main plan before the race. Near the end it was difficult because I lost some time and there was a little gap to the leaders so I was not completely with them. Then I crashed as I was entering the first turn. I’m sorry for my team because they were really good for the whole weekend.”

Toni Elias (Fortuna Honda RC211V), in fifth, said, “I didn't get a good start but bit-by-bit my rhythm improved and as the laps went by and the fuel tank got lighter I got more comfortable with the bike. Together with Valentino we cut through the pack and that helped me to finish fifth. On the final lap I tried to pass him but it was impossible. I’m satisfied with the way the race turned out but I’m still not quick enough over the first few laps so I have to work on this. I want to congratulate my team-mate Marco for his great performance today.”

Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda RC211V), in tenth, said, “After a good start I risked crashing at the first corner and for this reason I lost some positions. I did not have very good grip with the rear tyre so I was never been able to run at a particularly quick pace. Although I did manage to overtake Gibernau quite near the end, in the last series of corners preceding the straight. In comparison to Qatar, the positive note is that the feeling with my RC211V seems to be about to return to a good level.”

Kenny Roberts (Roberts KR211V), 13th, said, “I had to struggle out there today I just didn’t have the reserves. I was running low 1m 56s lap times and it was only at the end that I started running consistent laps in 1m 55s. In fact I set my fastest lap time with two laps to go. We just don’t have the corner entry speed we need. We don’t have grip, it’s as simple as that. We have the same engine and tyres that won the race so we have work to do.”

The points table now shows Hayden on 52 points, Loris Capirossi (Ducati) on 51, Melandri with 45, Stoner on 41, Rossi with 40 and Dani and Tony Elias tied on 32 each.

Former Honda man Hiro Aoyama (KTM) won a pulsating 250cc race from Hector Barbera (Aprilia) in second with Andrea Dovizioso (Humangest Racing Honda RS250RW) third after a race-long six-rider battle for supremacy. This was truly a vintage quarter-litre encounter.

Series points leader Jorge Lorenzo (Aprilia), two times winner so far this season, was taken out in a turn one crash on the opening lap. He was hit by Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda RS250RW) in a multi-bike melée and took no further part in the race.

After the turn one chaos, the intensity never faded. Dovi, Barbera, Hiro Aoyama, veteran Roberto Locatelli (Aprilia), Yuki Takahashi (Humangest Racing Honda RS250RW) and Alex de Angelis (Aprilia) rode in and out of each other’s wheel tracks for an entire race with the rest of the field in limbo.

Sometimes they clashed, sometimes they out-braked themselves trying to shake off the attentions of each other, but inexorably, they prepared to fight each other on the final lap.

As they exited the fearsome turn 11 on the final lap, four riders were fighting for the same stretch of tarmac and contact was made. De Angelis clashed with Barbera and his machine left the track, he stayed on and eventually halted on the tarmac run-off at the bottom of the hill – all from 160mph.

Meanwhile Dovi, Barbera and Aoyama slugged it out into the complex with Aoyama emerging on top as they took the flag. Dovi is still searching for that elusive first win in the 250cc class, as is De Angelis – but what a race.

Dovi said, “I’m happy to be the leader of the Championship, but I’m not satisfied with today’s third place. I’m quite constant in terms of results and I know I can stay in front, but I want to win and at the moment we are not quite doing it.”

His team-mate Takahashi said, “I started well and I tried to stay with the front group, but my lap times weren’t good enough. At the middle stage of the race, the rear tyre started to lose grip and it was difficult for me to overtake. I made a small mistake during the last lap and I lost time, increasing the gap with my rivals. I can do better next race.”

The overall World Championship table shows Dovizioso in the lead with 52 points, Lorenzo on 50 and Hiro Aoyama with 46.

Hector Faubel won the 125cc race from Alvaro Bautista with Sergio Gadea (all Aprilia) in third. Gabor Talmacsi (Humangest Honda RS125R) was running as high as fifth in the early stages before he faded to finish sixth.

He said, “Unfortunately, we haven't sorted out the suspension problems we’ve been having since the first race. The rear suspension doesn’t work well along with the tyre and so after few laps the bike starts to lose grip. This happened today. I started well but then I had to slow down. Anyway, we are not so far from the top riders and 10 seconds is not a big gap. I’m happy to be the first Honda rider.”

Reigning World Champion Thomas Luthi (Elit Grand Prix Honda RS125R) finished 12th and said, “I got a good start and could hold my position in the group easily. But when the tyres started to go I was having a lot of slides particularly in the four left hand corners. I just could not run a good corner speed. On the last lap I out-braked the riders in the group I was with but at the last corner I had a slide and was too low in the corner and they got me before the line.”

Bautista currently lead the World Championship points table with 70 points to Faubel’s 45.



Nicky Hayden


Toni Elias


Honda Team Quotes:

MotoGP:

Marco Melandri, Fortuna Honda: 1st:
”That was a fun race! I really enjoyed myself but it wasn’t easy – it was never going to be starting from fourteenth place at a circuit like this. I got a good start and that allowed me to manage the race better. The first few laps were tough but I tried to go with the front group and then had two really nice battles with Pedrosa and Stoner, two really young but strong riders. They added a really spectacular aspect to the race. At the end I decided it was time to attack Stoner and I think I made my experience count, which along with the performance of the Michelin tyres was enough for the victory. I’m so happy – to win for the second time at a circuit like Istanbul is incredible. I want to say thanks to Fortuna, Michelin and Honda and I dedicate this win to them. I’m happy but we have to keep working really hard to celebrate more success together!”

Casey Stoner, LCR Honda: 2nd:
“That was more like a 125 race and this result is a great feeling because I have proved to myself and everyone else that I can race up front in MotoGP. I feel have answered some of my critics today. I was expecting Marco to try and pass at the end of the straight because wasn’t that confident at that point, I had crashed there a couple times over the weekend. I knew I could be on the podium and I didn’t want to risk the 20 points. My crew chief Ramon and the team did a great job, we work very well together and I have been getting amazing support from Honda and Michelin.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 3rd:
“It was a wild race. Everyone was riding super-aggressive and fighting for position but nobody was doing any bone-head stuff. So I enjoyed the race. I had a bit of a problem on the starting line when one of the tyre warmers melted to the front disc and I thought about coming into the pits on the warm up lap. The brakes actually came in pretty good, but all through the race I felt a bit sloppy on the brakes – it didn’t feel perfect. Although the other guys were riding real fast and braking really deep, so perhaps that’s what it was it! At the end I just didn’t get it done, I make no excuses. The Repsol Honda team really did a good job – and the Michelins worked very well today. I’m really happy to keep the podium streak alive and leading the world championship is something to be proud of - it’s a good accomplishment for me - but it’s only three races in so I’m not going to jump up and down just yet. I’ve gotta keep working hard and stay focused and really I’ve gotta win races if I’m going threaten for the title.”

Toni Elias, Fortuna Honda: 5th:
“I didn’t get a good start but bit by bit my rhythm improved progressively and as the laps went by and the fuel tank got lighter I got more comfortable with the bike. Together with Valentino we cut through the pack and that helped me to finish fifth. On the final lap I tried to pass him but it was impossible. I’m satisfied with the way the race turned out but I’m still not quick enough over the first few laps so I have to work on this. I want to congratulate my team-mate Marco for his great performance today.”

Makoto Tamada, Konica Minolta Honda: 10th:
"After a good start I risked to crash with other riders at the first corner and for this reason I lost some positions. Apart from this inconvenient, I found myself in a group of riders who have been able to recuperate positions. I, instead, was not having a sufficient grip with the rear tyre, for this I have never been able to turn with a particularly quick pace. I overtook Gibernau quite at the end, in the last series of corners preceding the straight. In comparison to Qatar, the positive note is that the feeling with my RC211V seems to be about to return to a good level."

Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR Honda: 13th:
"I had to struggle out there today I just didn't have the reserve. I was running low 1m 56s lap times and it was only at the end that I started running consistent laps in 1m 55s. In fact I set my fastest lap time with two laps to go. We just don't have the corner entry speed we need. We don't have grip, it's as simple as that. We have the same engine and tyres that won the race so we have work to do. As ever we are trying to develop at the race track so the bike is different every time I ride it. The problem is a combination of sliding while braking into the corner, the weather changes and my inexperience with the bike and me having to ride it better"

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 14th:
“Until the last lap I think the race was good. I got a good start and recovered a lot of positions at the beginning. Then I got into a very good rhythm and I was able to overtake riders and catch the leaders, which was the main plan before the race. Near the end it was difficult because I lost some time and there was a little gap to the leaders so I was not completely with them. Then I crashed as I was entering the first corner - maybe I had a little movement at the back of the bike - and the I lost the front end. Fortunately I was able to pick the bike up and finish in 14th place, so at least I got two points. I’m sorry for my team because they were really good for the whole weekend and maybe I was not fully concentrating on the job because two mistakes and two crashes – this is a lot for me.”


250cc:

Andrea Dovizioso, Humangest Honda: 3rd:
"I'm happy to be the leader of the Championship, but I'm not satisfied with today's third place. At the beginning, I thought I could go away, but I didn't feel at 100% on the bike and I didn't have the same feeling I had during practice. Maybe the track was slower today. I lead the first two laps but then I've been overtaken. It's hard to choose the right strategy when you have less horsepower. Also, I used a tyre that I tested only this morning in the warm up and at the end it was sliding a bit. Anyway, I'm happy to lead the World Championship and I like the circuit of Shanghai, in China, where next GP takes place. I'm quite constant in terms of results and I know I can stay in front, but I want to win and at the moment we are not in the conditions to do it. The collision between De Angelis and Barbera has been unbelievable. I saw De Angelis' bike in front of me sideways, I closed my eyes and braked hoping that nothing happened. Luckily, then, the bike went on the right side, but this is not the way to ride. It is not possible to do that kind of change of directions at that speeds."

Yuki Takahashi, Humangest Honda: 5th:
"I started well and I tried to stay with the front group, but my lap times weren't good enough. At the middle stage of the race, the rear tyre started to loose grip and it was difficult for me to overtake. I made a small mistake during the last lap and I lost time, increasing the gap with my rivals. I tried to recover but I finished only fifth. I'm confident, though, I can do better next race."

Sebastian Porto, Repsol Honda:10th:
"Well, it's been really bad. The truth is that I lost the race right after at the start, in the first corner, when I saw that my team mate was running wide and in order to avoid him I had to go a bit straight, loosing all chances to fight for being in the leading group. Then I made my race, I made up as much as I could, but the leading group had already escaped. I've been riding all alone the whole race, but at least I managed to score. There's still a lot to improve, the bike still doesn't work the way I want, but I'm not worried, there are a lot of races left and we have to work."

Martin Cardenas, Wurth Honda BQR: 13th:
"I got a good start from my poor grid position and was with a fast group. But I had no practice time in dry conditions and I was not fast in a few corners. Because of that and it was difficult to find a good rhythm out there. With about nine laps to go they were slowly pulling away from me so I had to concentrate on holding my position."

Jordi Carchano, Stop and Go Racing: 17th:
"The crash at the first corner didn't help my race I, lost a lot of time, about 15 seconds so I raced alone for a long time. The bike was good and I would have been in a better position but for the first lap problem."

Shuhei Aoyama, Repsol Honda: dnf :
"I'm really sorry for what happened and I want to apologize to Jorge Lorenzo for that. I knew that in order to get a good result I needed a good start, so I focussed on it. I actually made a good start but when I arrived at the first left-hand corner, I braked too late and I couldn't avoid crashing with Lorenzo. It's been my fault; I'm very sorry for Lorenzo and for my team, who have been working really hard this weekend to provide me with a competitive bike."

Bradley Smith: dnf:
"My plan was going to the inside into the first corner but when Pesek's bike slowed I had to go to outside which put me on the outside on the first corner and there's a lot of hesitate and bumping and bouncing and once again I was left out but I kept it like flat out running outside and managed not to loose too many places which was ok and then I passed four on the first lap which was all right. From the first few laps I had really bad left hand side front grip. In the fast corners it was just chattering really bad."

Arturo Tizon, Wurth Honda BQR: dnf - crash:
"I got a good start but was it by another rider in the first corner and crashed. I picked the bike up and rejoined the race but the bike was a mess. The fairing was broken, handlebar pushed forward and the tank breather came off. So that was my race over."

Arnaud Vincent, Molenaar Honda: dnf – crash:
"I got a good start to the race and I was running comfortably I could stay with Porto and West. But I crashed at the corner before the start finish. I picked the bike up again and tried but slid off again when the front end folded in on me. The positive side is that I know as a team we have improved so I am looking forward to the race in China."


125cc:

Gabor Talmacsi, Humangest Honda: 6th:
"Unfortunately, we haven't sorted out the problems with the suspension that we have been having since the first race. The rear suspension doesn't work well along with the tyre and so after a few laps the bike starts to loose grip. This happened also today. I started well but then I had to slow down. Anyway, we are not so far from the top riders and 10
seconds is not a big gap. I'm happy to be the first Honda rider."

Thomas Luthi, Elit Honda: 12th:
"I got a good start and could hold my position I the group easily. But when the tyres started to go I was having a lot of slides particularly in the four left hand corners I just could not run a good corner speed. On the last lap I out braked the riders in the group I was with but at the last corner I had a slide and was too low in the corner and they got me before the line."

Fabrizio Lai, Seedorf Racing World: 13th:
“I’m happy with the bike because we have made improvements with the engine and chassis. But I had problems holding off the riders in the group and they beat me to the line on the last lap. We need more power.”

Sandro Cortese, Elit Honda: 16th:
"I got a average start and was with Rodriguez and De Rosa. I could get the better of De Rosa in the corners but he would pass me down the straight and hold me up. It was frustrating because the group got away from us and I couldn't do anything about it. I had a very good bike today, not one problem, so I am disappointed I didn't do better."

Aleix Espargaro, Wurth Honda BQR: 21st:
"I was 30th on the grid and then got a bad start. The bike was good but I didn't ride well. I was not in the best condition for the race. I had to have a pain killing injection before the start because of pain from my cracked scaphoid. But when the pain came it affected my concentration, it was not maximum.. "

Michele Conti, Seedorf Racing World: 23rd:
“I’m very happy with the improvement I have made in the time from first practice until the race. The bike was very fast today and I gained a lot of experience in that race.”

Lorenzo Baroni, Humangest Honda: 28th:
"I didn't start well and this didn't help me. Then I recovered the gap with the group in front of me, but the bike was moving about too much and so I couldn't push harder. It's important that I finished the race today as I need to make more experience".

Joey Litjens, Molenaar Honda: 34th. "Not so good. It was a long race and I just did not find my rhythm at the beginning. At Qatar I was I felt very good on the bike and - here I just couldn't find a good feeling. I'm very disappointed. But on the other hand I was very close to group of riders just ahead me"

Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda: dnf - crash:

"My plan was going to the inside into the first corner but when Pesek's bike slowed I had to go to outside which put me on the outside on the first corner and there's a lot of hesitation and bumping and bouncing and once again I was left out but I kept it like flat out running outside and managed not to loose too many places which was ok and then I passed four on the first lap which was all right. From the first few laps I had really bad left hand side front grip. In the fast corners it was just chattering really bad."

Mike Di Meglio, FFM Honda: dnf – crash:
“I took a very good start but at the background of the circuit I made a little mistake and I lost some places. At the first lap I was 13th and I quickly came back on the group of S.Gadea and F.Lai in fighting for the 9th position. The chassis behaves well and it allows me to improve lap times; I was 1.2 seconds faster than in qualifying session. But the difficulty was that my bike didn’t accelerate as well as the one of the others riders with whom I was fighting and to compensate for this lack I had to break very late. So the front of the bike was very requested and unfortunately I crashed after 10 laps. Despite this crash we improved a lot during this weekend; yesterday I had the best time under the rain with a gap of 1.5 seconds with the second rider and despite e very few session on dry track, we could notice that we made a big step forward. The team members and myself, are very confident for the next event that will take place in China, 12-13 and 14th May.”


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 03
Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park


line
MotoGP
1 Marco MELANDRI / Fortuna Honda
2 Casey STONER / Honda LCR
3 Nicky HAYDEN / Repsol Honda Team
4 Valentino ROSSI / Camel Yamaha Team
5 Toni ELIAS / Fortuna Honda
6 Loris CAPIROSSI / Ducati Marlboro Team
7 Chris VERMEULEN / Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
8 Shinya NAKANO / Kawasaki Racing Team
9 Colin EDWARDS / Camel Yamaha Team
10 Makoto TAMADA / Konica Minolta Honda
11 Sete GIBERNAU / Ducati Marlboro Team
12 Randy DE PUNIET / Kawasaki Racing Team
13 Kenny ROBERTS JR / Team Roberts
14 Dani PEDROSA / Repsol Honda Team
15 Carlos CHECA / Tech 3 Yamaha



Marco Melandri & Casey Stoner & Nicky Hayden
250cc
1 Hiroshi AOYAMA / Red Bull KTM GP 250
2 Hector BARBERA / Fortuna Aprilia
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO / Humangest Racing Team
4 Roberto LOCATELLI / Team Toth
5 Yuki TAKAHASHI / Humangest Racing Team
6 Sylvain GUINTOLI / Equipe GP De France - Scrab
7 Jakub SMRZ / Cardion AB Motoracing
8 Alex BALDOLINI / Matteoni Racing
9 Anthony WEST / Kiefer - Bos - Racing
10 Sebastian PORTO / Repsol Honda
11 Marco SIMONCELLI / Squadra Corse Metis Gilera
12 Alex DE ANGELIS / Master - MVA Aspar Team
13 Martin CARDENAS / Wurth Honda BQR
14 Dirk HEIDOLF / Kiefer - Bos - Racing
15 Manuel POGGIALI / Red Bull KTM GP 250
 
125cc
1 Hector FAUBEL / Master - MVA Aspar Team
2 Alvaro BAUTISTA / Master - MVA Aspar Team
3 Sergio GADEA / Master - MVA Aspar Team
4 Simone CORSI / Squadra Corse Metis Gilera
5 Joan OLIVE / SSM Racing
6 Gabor TALMACSI / Humangest Racing Team
7 Lukas PESEK / Derbi Racing
8 Lorenzo ZANETTI / Skilled I.S.P.A. Racing Team
9 Tomoyoshi KOYAMA / Malaguti Ajo Corse
10 Angel RODRIGUEZ / 3C Racing
11 Julian SIMON / Red Bull KTM GP 125
12 Thomas LUTHI / Elit - Caffe Latte
13 Fabrizio LAI / Valsir Seedorf Racing
14 Pablo NIETO / Multimedia Racing
15 Andrea IANNONE / TicinoHosting Campetella JNR T
 


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