Originally published by Julian Ryder on Sunday, August 20, 2006
|There was one extra little piece of history to accompany Loris’s win. He now has the longest winning career in the history of Grand Prix at 16 years and 15 days between his first and latest victories, beating Angel Nieto by a week.|
Twelve months ago it finally came right for the Capirossi/Ducati/Bridgestone combination, with a rostrum behind Valentino Rossi. Capi followed it up with dominating wins in Japan and Malaysia before getting hurt in Australia. His team mate got a rostrum there instead. Today, Loris dominated in an even more Doohan-like fashion than he did in Jerez, he led every lap and didn’t drop out of the 1min 58sec bracket until two laps from home. It was an awesome display of superiority made even more amazing by the fact that the man had wanted to go home on Friday, so bad were his bike and tires. A major Ducati pow-wow Friday night resulted in some radical set-up changes and when he immediately found one second on used tires Saturday morning he knew things would be alright. They were, the only thing Loris seemed slightly put out by was that he didn’t get pole. And that his chances of taking the title were probably ruined by that crash in Catalunya.
Valentino doesn’t agree, he thinks five people are still in with a chance of the championship, and as Nicky Hayden had a bad day at the office he might be right. Nicky suffered from several small niggles, first the continuing misbehavior of his bike going into corners, the fact he damaged the clutch getting off the line and then the indignity of being relegated two places on the last lap. Rossi had warned us all that tyre conservation would be vital and Nicky came out of the last corner sliding and spinning and having to watch Shinya Nakano ride round the outside of him. He took a long look at his rear Michelin going back into his garage but there was no obvious damage. Capirossi and Rossi actually did Hayden a favor by limiting the points gained by third place man Pedrosa, who was a little displeased with the way both Rossi and Nicky closed the door on him on a couple of occasions.
The fight of the race was a splendid battle for second, the first proper head- to-head confrontation we’ve seen between Pedrosa and Rossi. It took a while for Valentino to assert his authority and, from the outside, it looked as if both men were making some pretty tough moves.
There was one extra little piece of history to accompany Loris’s win. He now has the longest winning career in the history of Grand Prix at 16 years and 15 days between his first and latest victories, beating Angel Nieto by a week. All of the great Spaniard’s victories were on 50 and 125cc machines. Loris’s first was at Donington Park on a 125, followed up by wins on 250 Hondas and Aprilias, 500 Yamahas and Hondas, and latterly the Desmoseidici MotoGP Ducati.