MotoGP > MotoGP 2006 Round 16: Portugal GP > Race Results
MotoGPPortugalOctober 15, 2006
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 16
Portugal Grand Prix at Estoril

Elias Triumphs As Hayden Endures Disaster

Qualifying >>

This epic MotoGP race will be remembered as much for a stunning maiden victory for Toni Elias (Fortuna Honda RC211V) as it will for the misery suffered by the Repsol Honda Team – Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC211V) crashed taking out team-mate Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) as he tumbled. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) was second, Kenny Roberts (Roberts KR211V) third.

Toni Elias

Kenny Roberts Jnr

A race of high drama played out in front of a 41,000 crowd, with overcast skies and a track temperature of 26-degrees and an ambient 20-degrees. Rossi hit the front from the lights followed by his team-mate Colin Edwards with Dani and Nicky in close pursuit. Dani wasted no time disposing of Edwards for second while Nicky rode around the outside of the Yamaha man at turn one on the next lap.

Casey Stoner (LCR Honda RC211V) crashed on lap two taking down Sete Gibernau (Ducati) with him, while Edwards re-passed Hayden for third and then retook Pedrosa for second on lap three. Rossi meanwhile put in an early fastest lap of 1m 39.019s. The race was hotting up.

Roberts, making his way through the field from a fifth row start, showed he was right on the early pace with a fastest lap of 1m 38.4 seconds, while Hayden wanted to get on terms with the two front men and barged past Pedrosa for third.

Then on lap five the incident that every team dreads unfolded. Dani outbraked himself at the same tight left turn where Nicky had passed him and lost the front end. Dani’s bike skittled Nicky and the two hit the gravel – Dani’s race over, Nicky’s title hopes compromised by the crash.

Toni Elias who had been fifth until the demise of the Repsol duo, was now third and working on Edwards for second. Roberts had now eased past Loris Capirossi (Ducati) for fourth setting another fastest lap of 1m 37.9s in the process.

By mid-race distance Elias had secured second after a hard fight with Edwards and the Spanish star was now working on reducing the 1.1 second gap that Rossi held for the lead. By lap 19 of the scheduled 28 Tony was just 0.4 seconds adrift of Rossi and Roberts was shadowing Edwards who was still third.

On lap 22 Elias swooped up the inside of Rossi on the brakes at turn one before the reigning Champion grabbed back the lead on the next lap at the uphill chicane. But Roberts had now taken Edwards and then he moved on Elias for second.

On the penultimate lap Roberts made his bid for the lead at turn one and held onto it for the lap (Kenny would later reveal he miscounted the laps and expected to see the flag at the end of that lap). But on the final tour of Estoril’s 4.182km Elias made the same move from third place taking both Rossi and Roberts in one hit.

Rossi stole second back from Roberts and then slipped past Elias at the final chicane – but Toni held his ground and kept the power down on the outside and as the pair rounded the Parabolica onto the finish straight, Elias slipped out of Rossi’s draft to win by two thousandths of a second.

The World Championship has now swung in Rossi’s favour. The Italian has 244 points to Hayden’s 236 with the final round to be played out in Valencia in two weeks time.

Elias said, “That was perfect. All weekend I had been having big problems and now I have this incredible moment. I got a good start and when Stoner crashed out and then Dani and Nicky I was on the leaders and thought I could get a podium. Then I saw that Vale was only faster in some parts and I saw an opportunity that I had to take. Thanks to everyone who is supporting me… Honda, Michelin, Fortuna, my fans… everyone.”

Roberts said, “We’d improved quite a bit from Japan and I knew if I got a good start I’d be OK, but I didn’t want to be taking anyone out so I tried to get past Rossi on the last lap. But I miscalculated and when I crossed the line I thought I’d see the chequered flag – but there was one lap to go. I probably should have pulled this one out – but I won’t make the same mistake in Valencia – if I get the chance.”

Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda RC211V) finished fifth and said, “During qualifying I found a good race set-up and in the warm-up I found a good rear tyre. The tyres worked well for the first half of the race then I had some understeer in the turns. So I didn’t force things and just kept my position.”

“A difficult weekend,” said eighth-placed Marco Melandri (Fortuna Honda RC211V). “It started badly with the Friday crash and we did a good job to get back from that but we couldn’t quite find what we needed. The bike was Ok but I never had quite enough grip to go fast. I tried to push but whenever I did I made a mistake. Eighth wasn’t bad under the circumstances and I’m still third in the World Championship. Well done to Toni, but I feel sorry for Nicky.”

A dejected Nicky said, “It just hurts. I had a really hard race tyre on especially for the left-handers and I couldn’t believe how comfortable I felt in the first few laps. I was a lot faster than Edwards and I felt I could go and see what Valentino had. I didn’t expect Dani to pull over and let me past but I didn’t expect him to do that. We’re professionals and Dani did come by my motorhome and we shook hands. I proved this weekend that I wasn’t going to give up without a fight and even now I believe I’m still pretty strong. The World Championship is still possible.”

Dani said, “I made a mistake and I’m really sorry. It’s the first time I’ve hit another rider in my career. It’s never happened in six years and then now at the worst possible moment. I’m unhappy and so is Nicky and I just want to apologize. I wish I could change it. I braked and my rear wheel came off the ground and then when it came down again I got a little more speed and couldn’t stop the bike. I have a fractured finger but I should be OK for Valencia.”

Stoner said, “I don’t know if I lost the rear in the middle of the corner. It seemed to slip a bit and as it came back it flicked out on me. All I remember is another bike hitting me pretty hard. I think Sete’s bike smashed into the lower part of my right leg, but nothing’s broken. I was waiting to make a move and didn’t get the chance.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Humangest Racing Honda RS250RW) rode a superbly determined 250cc race to win here and keep his World Championship hopes alive. His series rival Jorge Lorenzo (Aprilia) could do no better than fifth here and Dovi now goes to Valencia in two weeks time with his title hopes firmly alive. Lorenzo has 276 points to Dovi’s 263.

Roberto Locatelli (Aprilia) powered away from pole to lead into turn one with Lorenzo in pursuit, Hiroshi Aoyama (KTM) holding third and with Dovi fourth. But by lap two Dovi had disposed of Aoyama to begin hounding Lorenzo for second. It took one more lap, and as Dovi began eating into Locatelli’s lead, Lorenzo was off the pace and dropping back.

Alex De Angelis (Aprilia) was now in the running by mid-race distance of this 26-lap contest and a front four of Dovi, Locatelli, Aoyama and De Angelis would now fight for the win while Yuki Takahashi (Humangest Racing Honda RS250RW) and Marco Simoncelli (Gilera) relegated Lorenzo to seventh.

The final laps were a master-class in race tactics from Dovi. He led into turn one on the final lap, using his Honda’s superb stability under braking, and then rode defensively while De Angelis and Aoyama fought for second. Dovi got superb drive out of the final turn to cross the line just one hundredth of a second ahead of Aoyama in second and De Angelis third.

Lorenzo eventually finished fifth ahead of Takahashi in sixth, while Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda RS250RW) retired with machine trouble with 11 laps remaining. Aprilia leads the Constructors’ World Championship by 332 points to Honda’s 280 points.

Dovi said, “I’m so happy to win here, but I had problems with my visor and couldn’t see that well. Under braking, that made things so difficult. But I managed to go fast enough to get the result I needed here and we now have some hope going to Valencia.”

Takahashi said, “I didn’t start well and although I managed to pass some riders I didn’t get past as many as I expected. But once I began lapping with a good rhythm I passed Lorenzo but then tyre went off and I started to slide and with a few laps to go I made a big mistake and Lorenzo passed me back.”

The 2006 World Champion Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) walked away with the 125cc Grand Prix winning by a margin of 15 seconds from his team-mate Hector Faubel and KTM rider Mika Kallio in third. This is Bautista’s eighth win of the season so far.

It was Julian Simon (KTM) who made turn one first from the off but by lap two the dominant Bautista had overhauled him and would never be troubled by anyone. The four-rider fight for the remaining podium places was intense with Faubel drafting Kallio over the line to get the verdict for second – but it was a mere sideshow with Bautista so far ahead.

Fabrizio Lai (Seedorf Racing Honda RS125R) finished seventh and Gabor Talmacsi (Humangest Honda RS125R) was eighth. Bradley Smith (Repsol Honda RS125R) and Thomas Luthi (Elit Grand Prix Honda RS125R) both crashed out of the race.

Lai said, “I made a good start and I could stay without problems with the leading group… If Pasini hadn’t crashed out in font of me I could have reached the podium.
He had problems maintaining the rhythm of the group and I was expecting what happened as I was trying to pass him without taking risks …but he crashed out just in front of me.”

Talmacsi said, “Today the bike was competitive and I should have got a better result. I tried to get past Lai at the end and made a mistake at the chicane, but to be the first Honda rider in the overall standings is some consolation.”

Makoto Tamada

Andrea Dovizioso


Toni Elias, Fortuna Honda: 1st.
"It's incredible, I can't believe it. I am really happy. It was a very hard race, really hard. I made a good start and over the first few laps felt very comfortable on the bike. I was behind Colin and realised that he was holding me up, so I pushed hard to get past him. I pushed until I closed up on Valentino and then passed him to lead a MotoGP race for the very first time. The next lap I made three errors all at once and I decided not to risk too much by trying to get past him again at that stage. I felt very comfortable at the first corner all race and was able to out-break people and so I did not want to let the opportunity pass on the final lap. At no time did I give up, that's my riding style. I want to thank the team for the great job they have done and thank all the fans that came to see the race."

Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR Honda: 3rd.
"We improved the bike quite a bit in testing the day after the last round in Japan, and it was good in practice - but my qualifying got messed up. I had to get a good start, and that worked out well. When I got up to Valentino in the lead, I'd seen Pedrosa take Hayden out, and I wanted to be real careful, because I didn't want to do the same thing to him. At the end, I mistook two laps to go for one, and when I crossed the line next time I thought I'd get the chequered flag. But there was one more lap. It took me off guard, or maybe I could have blocked them better in turn one. Earlier in the year it was hard to get within ten seconds of Rossi, my old championship rival. Now I'm happy that I was within a tenth of two. With the momentum we've built up this year, next year could be really good. I just hope I get the chance to make the same mistake in Valencia in two weeks time."

Kenny Roberts – Team Owner:
"We had the race pace today, obviously - we got that after Japan. We're getting closer and closer every time. We thought we took a step backwards in qualifying, but he never did seem too bothered by it. He said when I get race tyres on I'm okay, and if I get a good start I'll be fine. We were probably more worried than he was."

Makoto Tamada, Konica Minolta Honda: 5th.
“During yesterday’s qualifying, I realized I had found a good race set up and this morning, during the warm up, I was able to easily define the choice of the rear tyre. Tires worked very well for the first half of the race, while, for the remaining time, I had understering problems when entering the corners. At that point, I preferred not to force too much and keep my position.”

Marco Melandri, Fortuna Honda: 8th.
"It was a very difficult weekend. I started the weekend with a fall which impeded my performance. Along with my team and Michelin we worked really hard, but we couldn't find what we needed. The bike was working well but I had not enough grip to go fast. Considering that it was such a strange race and the difficulties I have had, a 8th result is not so bad. I have maintained third place in the championship and I hope to put in a good performance at Valencia. I want to congratulate Toni, it was a great win, but I also feel very sorry for Nicky."

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: dnf – crash:
“I don’t know what to say really – it just hurts. I had a really hard tyre on for the race, especially for the left handers, and it came in and I couldn’t believe how comfortable I felt in the first few laps. I was a lot faster than Edwards and I’d just made up my mind that I’d pass him right there on the brakes and I felt I could go and see what Valentino had. I don’t expect Dani to pull over and let me by but I definitely didn’t expect him to do that. We’re professionals and Dani did come to my motorhome and talk to me afterwards and we shook hands. I’ve proved this weekend that I wasn’t going to give up without a fight and even now I believe I’m pretty strong. This was not one of my best track and I’ve come here and gone quick – I was fastest in one session, got on the front row and had a good race pace. I need Dani’s help now because anything could happen in Valencia, so I hope his hand’s ok. I told him there’s a way to make it up to me and that’s if we run one-two in Valencia the championship’s still possible. It’s racing.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: dnf – crash:
“What can I say? I made a mistake and I’m really sorry. It’s the first time I’ve hit another rider in my career – it’s never happened before in practice or racing in six years and it’s happened at the worst moment that I could do it. Obviously I’m very unhappy and Nicky is not happy and I just want to apologize because I made a mistake. I said sorry to Nicky and that I can understand that he is very upset – I wish I could change it. I didn’t want to pass him at that moment. I braked and my rear wheel came off the ground and then it touched the ground again I got a little more speed and I couldn’t stop the bike and there was nowhere to go. I have a fracture in my little finger but we have time for it to be ok for Valencia.”

Casey Stoner, LCR Honda: dnf - crash.
“I don’t know if I lost the rear in the middle of the corner, it seemed to slip a little bit, and as it came back it flicked out on me. All I remember is another bike hitting me and feeling that pretty hard. I’ve got no idea exactly what happened. I think Sete’s bike smacked into the lower part of my right leg, it’s very sore, and I hope nothing is broken. My rear tyre wasn’t gripping the best and it was easy to stay with the leaders, I was waiting to start making a move but I didn’t get a chance.”


Andrea Dovizioso, Humangest Honda: 1st.
"All the races are difficult, but this time has been particularly tough because I suffered a problem at the visor of the helmet. It kept getting foggy despite I prepared it for wet conditions. So, I wasn't sure I could win here also because at the beginning Locatelli pushed very hard and I struggled a bit to catch him. It has been a very strange race; I actually knew I could be competitive but I didn't expect to have such a good rhythm. I tried everything to win today because it was the only way to keep the championship open and in the last lap I pushed hard even though I wasn't sure it was the final one. Now we go in Valencia and see what happens: he still has a good margin to manage, but I don't have anything to loose. Maybe Lorenzo could feel the pressure like here".

Yuki Takahashi, Humangest Honda: 6th.
"I didn't start very well and I passed some riders but not as many as I expected. Then, I was able to lap with such a good rhythm that I even passed Lorenzo, but then the tyre start to slide and I had to slow down. At three laps to go, though, I made a big mistake and Lorenzo passed me and I couldn't recover anymore."

Aleix Espargaro, Wurth Honda BQR: 13th.
"My start was not so bad and I was up with the front group and I had a good rhythm but very quickly the bike started to slide and I could not understand why. Slowly the problem got worse and the slides bigger I had to drop back. After the race I discovered that the rear tyre had been leaking air on the rim. I finished 13th but when you start from eighth lace on the grid you expect more. I am very disappointed but what could I do but try and take as many points as possible."

David de Gea replacement rider for martin Cardenas, Repsol Honda: 14th.
"I'm happy. It was important to finish the race today, although I was hoping to finish somewhat more in the front despite starting from the back. I had trouble getting the pace because he bike went as well in the beginning as in the end and I only managed to do well towards the end. This means that I'm lacking experience with this bike and that I still need to find the pace. But, well, I have finished the race which was out aim for today, as well as getting experience on this bike, and now I know it much better. I have one more race of experience for Valencia as well as the feeling during the 27 laps of the race which will be very important for the next race. I hope to be able to do better in Valencia, both in the practices and in the race."

Fabrizio Perren, Stop and Go Racing: 17th.
"I got a good start and made up a few positions. I was racing with De Gea and comfortable Then after half race distance I felt something in the engine and the noise was strange so I eased off the gas. I didn't want to risk too much because of the feeling I was getting from the bike. When I got back to the pits at the end of the race we found one tooth missing from third gear so I was lucky not to crash. When the front tyre started to slide I just took 17th place."

Arturo Tizon, Wurth Honda BQR: 20th.
"I have not felt comfortable on the bike all weekend and it is a painful experience to be so far behind in a race. In the race I did not get a very fast start and made little progress. I was alone towards the end of the race no one to follow. Now we go to Valencia and I have to find my rhythm on Friday and keep going that way all weekend."

Shuhei Aoyama, Repsol Honda: dnf - technical problem.
"I made a quite god start, and the first part of the race was good as well. Then I made a little mistake that made me loose some time but I was able to recover positions. And then the engine broke down at the end of the straight, when I was going into the first corner. Just when I was braking before the corner I noticed the rear tyre sliding and then the engine was gone. I'm very disappointed."


Fabrizio Lai, Seedorf Racing World: 7th.
"I made a good start and I could stay without problems with the leading group… If Pasini wasn’t crashed out in font of me I could have reached the podium. He had problems to maintain the rhythm of the group and I was expecting what happened and I was trying to pass him not to take risks …but he crashed out just in front of me: I could avoid him but I lost many positions and important seconds impossible to recover with a bike with lower performance. My Honda, with this cool temperature, was ok but the new Aprilia of Bautista is another thing."

Gabor Talmacsi, Humangest Honda: 8th.
“Today the bike was very competitive and I could have achieved a better result. But I wasn’t so aggressive, if I brake too hard I went wide loosing too much time. At the end, I tried to beat Lai and Koyama, but I made a small mistake at the chicane, where actually I was struggling a bit since the first laps, and so I couldn’t battle for the sixth place. Anyway, I am happy because I recovered one position in the championship and now I’m the first Honda rider in the general standing.”

Sandro Cortese, Elit Honda: 10th.
"My start was so-so and on the first lap there was a lot of traffic. I was in a group with Terol, Olive and Tom (Luthi). Corsi came passed and hit Tom and Olive and that cost me some time. I was two seconds behind Terol but the bike was good only second gear was a little short but in fifth and sixth gear I could catch hem. Then Bradley (Smith) fell off in front of me and I had to try and miss him and that was the end for me I had to accept 10th place at the finish."

Tito Rabat, Wurth Honda BQR: 17th.
"I had a good race I really enjoyed it. I got good start and I as riding well and quickly made up some positions. Towards the end of the race I was 10th racing with Abraham and Pol (Espargaro). Then on the last lap I tried to out brake Abraham but touched his bike with my handlebar. My hand was pulled back and I had no control and had to run onto the gravel. I got back onto the track but could only get 17th place."

Kazuma Watanabe, Humangest Honda: 20th.
“Again, I want to thank you the team and the sponsors for this opportunity and for the great support. After crashing at the last lap in Japan, I’m very happy to finish the race here, even though I could have done better today. But anyway, it has been fantastic to take the chequered flag along with all these very strong riders.”

Michele Conti, Seedorf Racing World: 21st.
"I started well recovering many positions but I couldn’t do better than I did. The bike performance is lower than the others, but I gained experience on this track that I like."

Joey Litjens, Molenaar Honda: 25th.
"I was racing with Leigh-Smith, Frohlich and Agenter and it was really difficult to break away from them, we were fighting for every meter. We tried everything under braking and were getting in each others way and Hernandez caught us. We immediately went faster racing with him and if I had done the same speed al race I would have easily finished in the top 20, not 25th."

Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda: dnf – crash:
"I made a good start, but then I wasn't so good at the brake point. It was ok during the first part however; I pushed hard and moved up to eighteenth. I passed Terol and tried to get away from him but he passed me back. Then I was behind him again for a few laps, but I wanted to go again. I tried to get past him and I was trying to get closer to get the slipstream but I got too close and highsided. It hasn't been good, but I can't restart it now and such are races. It's good that we still have one race in Valencia."

Mike Di Meglio, FFM Honda: dnf

“The warm up happened well this morning. I had some problems with the chassis but it did not disturb me at all. I improved my lap time from yesterday and I really felt comfortable on the bike. During the race, I was in the first group and after two laps, at the exit of a corner, I wanted to accelerate sooner to catch the leading group but I was too “generous” and unfortunately, I crashed. I suffered from different fractures: my left collarbone and my left scaphoid are broken; my right hand is also probably broken. I’m very disappointed because I won’t be able to participate in the last race in Valencia.”

Thomas Luthi, Elit Honda: dnf - crash.
"I got a good start and I was really good on the brakes and made up lots off places. I was racing in 10th place and the bike was good after out problems in qualifying. I was racing with Olive and I was trying to outbrake him into a corner when Corsi came up the inside and hit me. I crashed and unfortunately took Olive with me."

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 16
Portugal Grand Prix at Estoril

1 Toni ELIAS / Fortuna Honda
2 Valentino ROSSI / Camel Yamaha Team
3 Kenny ROBERTS JR / Team Roberts
4 Colin EDWARDS / Camel Yamaha Team
5 Makoto TAMADA / Konica Minolta Honda
6 John HOPKINS / Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
7 Carlos CHECA / Tech 3 Yamaha
8 Marco MELANDRI / Fortuna Honda
9 Chris VERMEULEN / Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
10 Randy DE PUNIET / Kawasaki Racing Team
11 Alex HOFMANN / Pramac d'Antín MotoGP
12 Loris CAPIROSSI / Ducati Marlboro Team
13 James ELLISON / Tech 3 Yamaha
14 Jose Luis CARDOSO / Pramac d'Antín MotoGP
15 Garry McCOY / Ilmor SRT

Toni Elias
1 Andrea DOVIZIOSO / Humangest Racing Team
2 Hiroshi AOYAMA / Red Bull KTM GP 250
3 Alex DE ANGELIS / Master - MVA Aspar Team
4 Roberto LOCATELLI / Team Toth
5 Jorge LORENZO / Fortuna Aprilia
6 Yuki TAKAHASHI / Humangest Racing Team
7 Marco SIMONCELLI / Squadra Corse Metis Gilera
8 Sylvain GUINTOLI / Equipe GP De France - Scrab
9 Anthony WEST / Kiefer - Bos - Racing
10 Hector BARBERA / Fortuna Aprilia
11 Jakub SMRZ / Cardion AB Motoracing
12 Manuel POGGIALI / Red Bull KTM GP 250
13 Aleix ESPARGARO / Wurth Honda BQR
14 David DE GEA / Repsol Honda
15 Andrea BALLERINI / Campetella Racing
1 Alvaro BAUTISTA / Master - MVA Aspar Team
2 Hector FAUBEL / Master - MVA Aspar Team
3 Mika KALLIO / Red Bull KTM GP 125
4 Lukas PESEK / Derbi Racing
5 Julian SIMON / Red Bull KTM GP 125
6 Tomoyoshi KOYAMA / Malaguti Ajo Corse
7 Fabrizio LAI / Valsir Seedorf Racing
8 Gabor TALMACSI / Humangest Racing Team
9 Simone CORSI / Squadra Corse Metis Gilera
10 Sandro CORTESE / Elit - Caffe Latte
11 Karel ABRAHAM / Cardion AB Motoracing
12 Pol ESPARGARO / Campetella Racing Junior
13 Lorenzo ZANETTI / Skilled I.S.P.A. Racing Team
14 Federico SANDI / SSM Racing
15 Sergio GADEA / Master - MVA Aspar Team

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