Monday, October 16, 2006

MotoGP Estoril: Gasp!

Wow. This motorcycle race will go down in history, they will be talking about it in decades to come. What were the odds, a thousand to one? A million to one? Nobody could have predicted a result like this. Let's recap:
Shinya Nakano, who is leaving Kawasaki at the end of the year, became the first casualty when he was thrown off his bike on lap one. Then Stoner, fast and dangerous as always, slid off his bike right in front of Sete Gibernau, leaving the hapless Catalan with nowhere to go. Sete's Ducati smashed spectacularly into the fallen Honda, flying into the air and throwing poor old Gibbers off, resulting in a broken finger and more damage to his long-suffering, metal-plated collarbone.
That was nothing compared to what happened next: nothing short of the impossible. Dani Pedrosa, trying a hugely optimistic move on his championship-chasing teammate, Nicky Hayden, The Kentucky Kid. The little Spaniard had no chance of making the corner. He lost the front end and dropped the bike, which slammed into Li'l Nicky's Honda and catapulted the Kentuckian off into the gravel.
Nicky frantically tried to pick up his smashed bike, but had to admit defeat. The friendly, well spoken young American was left slamming his fist into the ground and screaming abuse at Pedrosa and the world in general, knowing that he would lose his championship points lead.
His Italian title rival, Valentino Rossi, was shown a pitboard reading "Hayden Out", and must have been smiling as he led the race. Surprisingly, Rossi's yellow Yahama could not maintain its lead. His teammate, the Texan Tornado, Colin Edwards, was acting as Rossi's tailgunner to hold back the fast-charging Spaniard Toni Elias, and Californian ex-champion Kenny Roberts Junior. The two Americans and the Spaniard were scrapping amongst themselves, but Rossi just couldn't pull away.
Elias was on awesome form. While everyone else avoided the greasy, damp kerbs, Toni was screeching across them sideways in the braking zone. Hayden might have been out, but his riding style was still on offer. Elias took the lead, Rossi tried to brake as late as him and nearly slid off the track. After much battling, with Rossi, Elias and KRJR swapping the lead between them, Rossi led out of the final corner. However, Elias managed to pop his Gresini Honda out of the slipstream at the right moment and cross the line first. He took his first MotoGP win by just 0.002 seconds.
An incredible race. More reaction over the next few days.

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