Friday, October 13, 2006

MotoGP: Estoril Preview

It's the Estoril GP on Sunday, the second last of the season. Li'l Nicky Hayden could wrap up the title if he scores plenty of points and Vale scores very few. On the other hand, Rossi could leave with a lead in the championship. There are 12 points between them, and with 25 points for a win and zero points for a crash, anything could happen.
In Friday practise, the Kentucky Kid was looking brilliant, posting the 2nd fastest time. The crazy 12-year-old Aussie Casey Stoner was fastest, but he is on a Honda and can be expected to move aside if he is running ahead of Nicky in the race. The same can be said for KRJR, who was 3rd fastest. As an American with a Honda engine, you don't have to be Einstein to work out who he would support for the title.
Incredibly, Carlos Checa was 4th quickest on the Dunlop-shod Yamaha. If he keeps this speed up during the whole weekend he could produce an amazing result.
Pedrosa was 5th, Edwards 6th and Sete Gibernau 7th, easily the fastest Bridgestone runner.
Rossi was just 8th, but we know that he concentrates on the race, and isn't even interested in qualifying, never mind Friday practise.
The appearance of the new 800cc Ilmor machine heralded the return of the popular little Aussie Garry McCoy. He was impressive, outpacing Ellison in the 1st session and Cardoso in the 2nd, despite giving away 190cc to them. He must be at least 50bhp down on the top machines, and was over 20km/h slower than Stoner through the speed traps. We got to see a little of his sideways style, but nothing like as spectacular as the 500cc 2-stroke days.
Things are starting to get really exciting. The Valentino Rossi freight train is gathering momentum, but Nicky is on great form. Can Vale snatch the title, or will the Kentucky Kid's consistency win through? Stay tuned!

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