MotoGP > MotoGP 2006 Round 14: Australia GP > Race Results
MotoGPFranceSeptember 17, 2006
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 14
Australia Grand Prix at Phillip Island

Melandri Wins, Hayden Hangs Onto Points Lead

Qualifying >>

Rain played havoc with the MotoGP race at Phillip Island. The start was delayed, the race declared a ‘wet’ race, reduced by one lap to 26-laps from 27, and an incident-packed contest unfolded in front of a 44,500 crowd. Marco Melandri (Fortuna Honda RC211V) won from Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) with Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) third.



Marco Melandri


Nicky Hayden


With a 23-degree ambient temperature and a 33-degree track temperature under cloud cover, riders lined up for the sighting lap as spots of rain fell on the grid. All teams were ready with spare bikes shod with wet or intermediate tyres in preparation for possible machine swaps under the ‘wet’ race rules.

Shinya Nakano (Kawasaki) shot into the lead from the lights to lead Sete Gibernau (Ducati) by an incredible 3.5 seconds by the end of lap two. Melandri lay third, Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC211V) fourth and series points leader Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) was way down in 14th after a bad start.

As lap five began the rain worsened as Rossi moved up to fifth, then passed Pedrosa for fourth and then went third past Melandri until Marco repassed him. On the next lap Rossi went second overhauling Melandri again and then Gibernau. But Nakano was still in front – now by a massive 4.8 seconds.

By lap nine it was raining hard. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) had crashed and Hayden, Rossi, Gibernau and Melandri had been into the pits to swap bikes for wet-shod machines. Nakano delayed his pit entry until lap ten and he emerged behind new leader Carlos Checa (Yamaha) who been among the first to pit.

The mid-race order was now Gibernau, Vermeulen, Melandri, Casey Stoner (LCR Honda RC211V), Nakano, Checa, Rossi then Hayden. Dani was to lose out to the confusion in pit lane as the majority of riders came in the change machines at the same time. He entered pit lane in eighth position but was hindered by Tamada’s retired machine parked in his path and found himself down in 13th place when he returned to the track.

As the track dried Melandri got stronger and sped past Vermeulen for second before relieving Gibernau of the lead on lap 16 and then working that advantage to nearly ten seconds by the flag.

On lap 18 there was controversy as Rossi sped passed Stoner under a waving yellow flag following an incident involving Carlos Checa (Yamaha). Rossi retained his position into the next corner and gained precious time on Hayden. The Race Direction later ruled no further action should be taken as it was deemed Stoner had momentarily re-passed Rossi.

The fight for the rest of the places became super-intense as the final lap began.

Gibernau, Rossi, Stoner and Hayden were bunched up and scrapping for every place and point. Gibernau was clearly suffering severe tyre wear and as the rain again fell hard he couldn’t keep Rossi at bay for third as they crossed the line. Nor could Hayden get past Gibernau and Nicky had to accept fifth, Stoner sixth.

The World Championship points table now shows Nicky still ahead on 225, Rossi second with 204 and Melandri and Pedrosa, who was 15th, tied on 193 each. Loris Capirossi (Ducati), who was seventh, has 180 points. Honda leads the Constructors’ series with 303 points to Yamaha’s 242. Three races remain.

Of his third win of the season so far Marco said, “It was an incredible race and it came just at the right time for me. To win at Phillip Island, (the track where I won the 250 title), in whatever conditions, is an incredible feeling. I was really motivated because I went really well in the warm-up this morning and made some small changes for the race. I had to ride without forcing it because it was hard to keep the feeling in slippery conditions. I want to thank the team and Honda and Michelin because everything worked perfectly.”

Nicky said, “What a wild race. I had some problems getting off the line and in the first few laps it was just wet and it felt pretty sketchy to me. I was using quite a hard tyre and I was just getting eaten up and losing positions at the beginning. Then it started to rain, we came in and switched bikes and it was actually really good fun – I enjoyed it. I got Rossi, he got me back and we were catching some guys in front of us. It was looking OK until he got Sete in between us, which was not great, but we’re still holding on with three races to go and we’ll just roll into Motegi and keep fighting.”

Casey said, “I’m pretty disappointed. The weekend was going great until the rain and I felt very good after being fastest in the morning warm-up. At the start I took it easy. Then the rain came and it really hammered down, visibility was very bad, but I’ve got a good feeling in the wet and was able to make up some positions before the pitstop. But on the spare bike the rear wet tyre felt like a slick – it was too hard a compound and I struggled for grip on the left side – it was a disaster.”

Toni Elias (Fortuna Honda RC211V), ninth, said, “It was a strange race. For the first time they used the flag-to-flag rule which was introduced two years ago. In general, though, it was an enjoyable race. I didn’t make a good start and after I’d changed bikes it was difficult to get a good feeling because the rain made conditions slippery. In the end I had to be content with ninth place and there are now three more races to go. I hope to get a good result as we’ve been working hard.”

Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda RC211V), who finished tenth, said, “If it had been dry we would have got a good result. When I came in to take my wet bike the settings were not so good. The suspension was too hard and for the first two or three laps I had no grip and a big gap opened up between me and the riders in front. Later the grip got better but by that time it was too late.”

Kenny Roberts (Roberts KR211V) managed 14th place and could not mask his disappointment. He said, “The result speaks for itself. I had a loose throttle for the second part of the race – and that was that. The race was maybe good for TV, not so good for us.”

Dani, down in an unfamiliar 15th place, said, “We were ready for the dry race and I was able to run near the front in the early laps. Everybody was careful for the first few laps because it was raining and the tyres were cold – except Nakano – right from the start he was already gone. I lost some time after I changed bikes and many of the riders who were behind me before were in front. The tyre choice for the second part of the race was too soft and after two laps it was destroyed so it was impossible for me to maintain the pace. The result is obviously not good in terms of points but Motegi is a track I like so I hope to have a better race there.”

The dry 250cc race, held earlier in the day, belonged to Jorge Lorenzo (Aprilia) who won his eighth race of the season and moved closer to the World Championship title with three races remaining. Alex de Angelis (Aprilia) was second and Hiro Aoyama (KTM) third.

Andrea Dovizioso (Humangest Racing Honda RS250RW) got the holeshot into turn one from fourth on the grid and the Italian led lap one until de Angelis inched past him on the Gardner straight to make the running, while Lorenzo bided his time in fourth.

By lap six four riders had left the rest of the field trailing as de Angelis, Dovi, Lorenzo and Aoyama set the pace. Lorenzo then upped it to take charge by mid-race distance while Yuki Takahashi (Humangest Racing Honda RS250RW) entered the pits to bring his race to a premature end.

As Lorenzo rode the final laps with de Angelis in close pursuit Dovi dropped back to fourth, where he eventually finished, and lost touch with the podium positions. De Angelis tried to take Lorenzo as they approached the flag on the final lap but he left his drafting manoeuvre a little too late and lost out by just nine thousandths of a second across the line.

Lorenzo now holds a 24-point lead over Dovi with three rounds remaining while in the Constructors’ Championship Aprilia has 296 points to Honda’s 242 with KTM third on 152 points.

Dovi said, “During the warm up we had an engine problem, but we didn’t think it was too serious. In the race, though, it was. When Lorenzo and then Ayoama passed, whenever I changed gear, the engine died and I was losing time. Also, I had cramp in my left leg and so I wasn’t able to change gear properly. The Championship is not finished yet, but it will be very hard to take it.”

Takahashi said, “In the first laps everything was going well. Then, starting from lap three, the machine started to lose power in fifth and sixth gear. This was dangerous for me and for the other riders especially on the fast straight in front of the pits. So I decided it was better to retire. It’s a shame looking at the Championship, but I go to Motegi confident that I can do well.”

Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda RS250RW) finished fifth for his second best result of the season so far, while his team-mate Martin Cardenas (Repsol Honda RS250RW) returned to Columbia to rest his broken collarbone after the fracture re-opened during practice here. Spaniard David de Gea will ride for the team at Motegi.

Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) won the (dry) 125cc race in typically convincing fashion – and with it the World Championship. The Spaniard beat Mika Kallio (KTM) by five seconds to record his seventh win from 13 starts and secure his first world title. Mattia Pasini (Aprilia) was third.

The 23-lap race was restarted and scheduled for just 15-laps after a lap one, turn one crash involving four riders. Neither Joey Litjens (Arie Molenaar Racing Honda RS125R), nor Sergio Gadea (Aprilia) made the restart.

Bautista made the running, just as he had in the original start, and he made short work of stretching out an unassailable lead. By mid-race he held a 3.8 second advantage over a nine-rider pursuing pack – and nobody could reduce it.

On the last lap a four-way dice ensued for the two remaining podium places and reigning World Champion Thomas Luthi (Elit Grand Prix Honda RS125R) used all his bravery and skill at turn one to stay with the fight – but Kallio’s KTM and Pasini’s Aprilia had the edge on speed over the Swiss man’s Honda.

With 280 points to Kallio’s 201, Bautista now reigns in 2006. In the Manufacturers’ Championship Aprilia has 303 points, KTM 206 and Honda 145.

Luthi said, “My first start was good but on the restart I was in the middle of the group and had to fight my way out to get to Kallio. We changed a few little things on the engine set-up for the warm-up and the bike was really good today, the engine was perfect. It was great for me to be back racing at the front and I enjoyed it. Now we have to keep it going for the last three races.”

Fabrizio Lai (Seedorf Racing Honda RS125R) finished eighth and Gabor Talmacsi (Humangest Honda RS125R) was ninth.

Talmacsi said, “Today the bike was very fast and I want to thank the team because they did a good job. I could keep the pace of the other riders, but with five laps to go I had to slow down because the rear tyre wore out. The bike was sliding in the curves and I couldn’t open the throttle as I did at the beginning. Congratulation to Alvaro Bautista, he really deserves the world title.”



Casey Stoner


Toni Elias


MotoGP

Marco Melandri, Fortuna Honda Team, 1st:
“It was an incredible race and it came just at the right time for me. To win at Phillip Island, (the track where I won the 250 title), in whatever conditions, is an incredible feeling. I was really motivated because I went really well in the warm-up this morning and made some small changes for the race. The weather conditions then made things even more tense. I made a good start and got into third position on the first lap. It then started to rain and so I had to ride with care. When it started falling harder I came into the pit-lane to change the bike. It was a strange situation, like when you play on the playstation, because there were a lot of people in the pit-lane and it was hard to get to your own box. Back on the track I had to ride without forcing because it was hard to keep the feeling in slippery conditions. When I started to feel comfortable and increased the pace I was able to get past Vermeulen and Gibernau. The bike and the Michelin tyres worked very well and it helped that I know the circuit so well. During the winter tests I did lots of laps here in different conditions and knowing how things would work really helped. I am happy and want to thank the team and Honda and Michelin because everything worked perfectly."

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda Team: 5th
“What a wild race. I had some problems getting off the line, which is clear, and in the first few laps it was just wet and it felt pretty sketch to me. I was using quite a hard tyre and I was just getting eaten up and losing positions at the beginning. Then it started to rain, we came in and switched bikes and it was actually really good fun – I enjoyed it. When it was really raining it felt pretty good and I was charging hard and getting past quite a few guys but as it dried out I struggled a bit in the half-wet half-dry conditions. I got Rossi, he got me back and we were catching some guys in front of us. It was looking ok until he got Sete in between us which was not great, but we’re still holding on with three races to go and we’ll just roll into Motegi and keep fighting.”

Casey Stoner, Honda LCR: 6th
“I’m pretty disappointed, the weekend was going great until the rain and I felt very good after being fastest in the morning warm-up. At the start I took it easy, some of the other guys were going too hard for the conditions. Then the rain came and it really hammered down, visibility was very bad, but I’ve got a good feeling in the wet and was able to make up some positions before the pitstop. But on the spare bike the rear wet tyre felt like a slick -- it was too hard a compound tyre and I struggled for grip on the left side -- it was a disaster. When Valentino passed me he came back up the inside at Siberia corner and pushed me wide -- I just remember it was an aggressive pass. You can’t do anything about the weather but I was expecting more from this race”.

Toni Elias, Fortuna Honda: 9th
"It was a strange race. For the first time they used the flag to flag rule which was introduced two years ago. I felt under pressure from that moment and infact nearly came together with Vermeulen as I went to use the second bike. In general, though, it was an enjoyable race. I did not make a good start and after I had changed bikes it was difficult to get the feeling because the rain made conditions slippery. In the end I had to be content with ninth place and there are now three more races to go. I hope to get a good result as we have been working hard."

Makoto Tamada, Konica Minolta Honda: 10th
"This year we have sometimes had some bad luck at this race if it was dry we would have got a good result. When I came in to take my wet bike the settings were not so good. The suspension was too hard and for the first two - three laps I had no grip and a big gap opened up between me and the riders in front. Later the grip got better but by that time it was too late."

Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR Honda: 14th
"The result speaks for itself. I had a loose throttle for the second part of the race. That was that."

Kenny Roberts Senior - team owner
"Kenny came in the pit last of everyone to change bikes, after he fell down, so maybe our race was spoiled anyway. With the bike as it was, he could do nothing to recover. This was the first time people have changed bikes, and it was good for TV, with no race stoppage. Not so good for us."

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: 15th
“We were ready for the dry race and I was able to run near the front in the early laps. Everybody was careful for the first few laps because it was raining and the tyres were cold – except Nakano – right from the start he was already gone. After the weather changed and it started raining I more or less kept the rhythm of the riders in front. But when we came into the pit-lane to change bikes the pit-lane was full and there were plenty of people who didn’t need to be there and I can’t really understand why. I lost some time and after I changed bikes many of the riders who were behind me before were in front. The tyre choice for the second part of the race was too soft and after two laps it was destroyed so it was impossible for me to maintain the pace. The result is obviously not good in terms of points but Motegi is a track I like so I hope to have a better race there.”


250cc:

Andrea Dovizioso, Humangest Honda: 4th
"During the warm up we had an engine problem, but actually we didn't think it was so serious. In the race, though, it came out again at least three times. When Lorenzo and then Aoyama passed, when I changed gear, the engine died and I was loosing time. Also, I had cramps at my left leg and so I wasn't able to change gear properly. But a part these problems, we were lacking of a couple of tenth of a seconds to be as competitive as the leaders. The championship is not finished yet, but it will be very hard to clinch it."

Yuki Takahashi, Humangest Honda: dnf - technical problem
"In the first laps everything was going well, then, starting from lap 3 the machine started to loose power in fifth and sixth gear. This was dangerous for me and for the other riders especially in the fast straight in front of the box. So I decided it was better to retire. It's a shame looking at the championship, but I go to Motegi confident that I can do well."

Shuhei Aoyama, Repsol Honda: 5th
"I'm very happy today. It was a very good race. Too bad I didn't make it onto the podium but let's take it easy and go step by step! We had some trouble this morning during the warm-up with the speed, but the bike went much better during the race and I was able to push harder. I managed to make a good start and overtook several riders. I moved up to fifth and managed to keep the position until the end. I'm very happy and looking forward to my home race next weekend in Japan."

Fabrizio Perren, Stop and Go Racing: 14th
"I made a bad mistake at the start and ended up last away from the line. I fought hard to make contact with the group ahead I got up behind Poggiali and was running in his slipstream but the bike was not getting enough in the air getting into the air-box and the engine started to get rich and the engine lost a little power and I could not pass him down the straight. But from last place on lap one to 14th at the finish I am quite happy with my race."

Aleix Espargaro, Wurth Honda BQR: 15th
"Up until the middle of the race more speed than the riders around me but I could not brake hard because of my injured hand. I have to thank my team and the Doctor for their help in preparing the bike and myself for the race."

Arturo Tizon, Wurth Honda BQR: dnf - technical problem
"I made the wrong tyre choice ad went for the soft compound but in the race the tyres were used up very quickly. My problems came from the crash in practice, which was not my fault. We missed so much time to work on the bike that I just did not have the chassis and suspension settings I needed and that's what cased the tyre problems."

Arnaud Vincent, Molenaar Honda: dnf - carbrationproblems. Dnf – technical problem
"My problem was the same as the one we had all through practice and qualifying, every time I changed gear the engine started to stutter and I was losing a lot of time. My start was good but because of the electrical problem I went backwards. So I stopped because it was getting dangerous."

Martin Cardenas, Repsol Honda. Did not start due to injury sustained at Czech Republic GP


125cc:

Thomas Luthi, Elit Honda: 4th
"My first start was good but on the restart I was in the middle of the group and had to fight my way out t get to Kallio, he was not fast from the beginning. We changed a few little things on the engine set up for the warm up and the bike was really good today, the engine was perfect. It was great for me to be back racing at the front and I enjoyed it. Now we have to keep it going for the last three races."

Fabrizio Lai, Seedorf Racing World: 8th
"I was concentrate also after the red flag. I could make a good restart and did not lose the contact with Bautista and Kallio for some laps. But it wasn’t possible for my Honda to maintain the same rhythm of Aprilia and Ktm: I lost to much ground in the straight. Moreover in the last curve they were faster than my and Talmacsi Honda, which have rear-wheel drive problems. Certainly the cool weather let us to colsed down the gap between Honda and other Constructors but it wasn’t enough."

Gabor Talmacsi, Humangest Honda: 9th
“Today the bike was very fast and I want to thanks the team because they did a good job. I could keep the pace of the other riders, but at five laps to go I had to slow down because the rear tyre wore out. The bike was sliding in the curves and I couldn’t open the throttle as I did at the beginning. Congratulation to Alvaro Bautista, he really deserves the world title.”

Sandro Cortese, Elit Honda: 14th
"I really enjoyed that race. I got a perfect start and was racing with Koyama, Faubel and Da Rosa from early on. When I ran off the track at th last corner my heart stopped - it was scary but I regained control and the track without losing my rhythm. I am happy with my race and scored two points."

Mike Di Meglio, FFM Honda: 15th
“This morning, the warm up was delayed because there was too much fog; but the weather conditions for the race were good. I took a good start (10th) and after one lap, the race stopped by a red flag because of a collective crash. The race started again for only 15 laps; I was in a group fighting for points but Bradley Smith crashed just in front of me. I could avoid him but I lost the contact with the group. Then I was on my own on this track on which the aspiration is very important and I couldn’t catch up with the other riders. I finally finish 15th and score 1 point; I’m a bit disappointed but it’s the race and I’m satisfied of the bike because we worked a lot this weekend.”

Michele Conti, Seedorf Racing World: 18th
"It was a good and fun race. I couldn’t maintain the contact with the group because with the slipstreams the other riders could easily pass me and had not enough acceleration to follow them. But I’m satisfied because now I have a good pace and I think I could stay within the 15: I have to get a better position on the grid to have the possibility to make a better race."

Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda: 28th
"After the first start I was really flouted. I got a good start and was a bit hesitant on the second corner about three people passed me. After the first lap I just tried to catch back-up. The four laps before I crashed I was going well. I went faster than my qualifying time, doing consistent lap times and I caught the group in front and things we're looking up. But then I caught a slipstream down the straight and I didn't want to be in the back I just tried to get to the front so I tried to brake straight away, like out braking. I don't know maybe I had a different line to Sandro (Cortese) but it looked as if he was going wide and I just went through the inside and as he cut back it was just too close So I thought I had to pick it up and as I picked up he must have caught my front end and down I went. But I got back on and finished. The position wasn't good for me but at least I finished which is better than just retiring or something like that. It's a shame but my head's up, we had a good weekend, it's been positive and now we're on to Japan."

Michele Pirro, Humangest Honda: dnf
“I am not able to ride this bike and to feel confident on the Honda, so I decided to retire in the pit garage. I’m really sorry as I am not using the chance that has been offered to me”.

Tito Rabat, Wurth Honda BQR: dnf - crash
"What can I say? I was going into the bottom of the dip on the brakes and Sandi torpedoed me and we both crashed. It was not necessary we were racing for 16th place, we could not score any points. Before that I was having a good race, enjoying myself. I got a good start and the bike was good, my engine was fast my lap times were not so bad - not super good. My tyres were also good at the end of the race so I could have help Sandi behind me."

Joey Litjens, Molenaar Honda: dnf - crash
"Gadea made a dumb mistake, how could he do such a thing? It was a shock when he hit me I saw him on the grass but no way I expected that to happen. He ruined my whole weekend. I really like this track and was happy with my start and was in a good position. Instead of having a fun race on a great track - now all I have is cut fingers and a badly swollen hand and a damaged bike. It's so disappointing."


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 14
Australia Grand Prix at Phillip Island


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



Marco Melandri
250cc
1 Jorge LORENZO / Fortuna Aprilia
2 Alex DE ANGELIS / Master - MVA Aspar Team
3 Hiroshi AOYAMA / Red Bull KTM GP 250
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO / Humangest Racing Team
5 Shuhei AOYAMA / Repsol Honda
6 Hector BARBERA / Fortuna Aprilia
7 Roberto LOCATELLI / Team Toth
8 Jakub SMRZ / Cardion AB Motoracing
9 Anthony WEST / Kiefer - Bos - Racing
10 Marco SIMONCELLI / Squadra Corse Metis Gilera
11 Dirk HEIDOLF / Kiefer - Bos - Racing
12 Jules CLUZEL / Equipe GP De France - Scrab
13 Manuel POGGIALI / Red Bull KTM GP 250
14 Fabricio PERREN / Stop And Go Racing Team
15 Aleix ESPARGARO / Wurth Honda BQR
 
125cc
1 Alvaro BAUTISTA / Master - MVA Aspar Team
2 Mika KALLIO / Red Bull KTM GP 125
3 Mattia PASINI / Master - MVA Aspar Team
4 Thomas LUTHI / Elit - Caffe Latte
5 Julian SIMON / Red Bull KTM GP 125
6 Lukas PESEK / Derbi Racing
7 Raffaele DE ROSA / Multimedia Racing
8 Fabrizio LAI / Valsir Seedorf Racing
9 Gabor TALMACSI / Humangest Racing Team
10 Joan OLIVE / SSM Racing
11 Nicolas TEROL / Derbi Racing
12 Tomoyoshi KOYAMA / Malaguti Ajo Corse
13 Hector FAUBEL / Master - MVA Aspar Team
14 Sandro CORTESE / Elit - Caffe Latte
15 Mike DI MEGLIO / FFM Honda Grand Prix 125
 


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