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Flashback: Estoril 2006

At, we consider the 2006 Portuguese Grand Prix to have been the 'best' all-round race of the MotoGP era. With the 2011 Estoril round this weekend, we make no apologies for again running this 'flashback' feature, first published here in 2009...
The 2006 Portuguese Grand Prix remains one of the most dramatic races of the MotoGP era.

The 16th and penultimate round of the 2006 world championship, Estoril was action-packed from start to finish - culminating in a thrilling three-way last lap victory battle between Kenny Roberts, Valentino Rossi and Toni Elias.

The significance of what happened in that race has since grown, with many of the landmarks set that day still in place.

Here is a summary of the most significant moments from the 2006 race:

• The motorsport world was stunned when Nicky Hayden was in accidentally taken out by Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa on lap 5 of 28, costing the American the world championship lead he had held since round three in Turkey. The significance of the clash even caught the attention of mainstream media.

• The accident marked Hayden's only DNF of his title winning season.

• Toni Elias took his first and so far only MotoGP win, and with it his first ever premier-class podium. The Spaniard began the last lap in third place, but overtook both Rossi and Roberts into turn one. Rossi then got back in front, but Elias shot past him out of the final turn.

• Elias won by just 0.002sec, to equal the closest ever recorded finish in the premier-class since the introduction of electronic timing.

• Elias' victory remains the last time that a satellite rider has won a MotoGP race. Elias, who was riding for Gresini Honda, looked set to lose his seat for 2007 until he took that win.

• The next time a MotoGP race was won by a last lap pass was at Catalunya in 2009 - when Rossi was the winner.

• Second place at Estoril meant Rossi took the title lead for the first (and last) time during the entire 2006 season, having been as far as 51 points behind Hayden after round 11 of 17.

• Rossi went on to lose the 2006 world championship by five points when he fell at the Valencia season finale - the same number of points he lost by finishing second to Elias at Estoril.

• 2000 world champion Roberts Jr took third place, marking the 22nd and final podium of his grand prix career and the last by Team Roberts, which withdrew at the end of 2007.

• Roberts Jr took the lead on the penultimate lap, having thought the race was over one lap early. Unlike Julian Simon at Catalunya 2009, Roberts kept on the throttle when he failed to see a chequered flag.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Rossi leads, Portuguese MotoGP Race 2006
Pedrosa, German MotoGP race 2017
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Marquez, Pedrosa, Lorenzo German MotoGP race 2017
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Vinales, Rossi, German MotoGP 2017
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Rossi fans, German MotoGP 2017
Rossi, German MotoGP 2017
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Rossi, German MotoGP 2017
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Pedrosa, German MotoGP 2017
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Vinales, Rossi, German MotoGP 2017

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Oli - Unregistered

April 28, 2011 10:51 AM

Estoril 2006 was for sure one of the best. It had everything, with Dani taking Nicky out, the title fight, Elias coming from nowhere, KRJR and an awesome last lap. Some of my other favourites. Jerez 2005. Rossi & Sete were on a completely different planet to everyone else. Sete was never the same after that race. Welkon 2004. Love him or hate him, you cannot help but admire Rossi. He leaves Honda, Honda promise to destroy him and he wins first time out. The tension was incredible. Sachsenring 2006. Another one Rossi should never have won. Injured and on a dog of a bike. Laguna 2008. See above. Again, Rossi should never have won. Stoner was so much faster and Rossi knew he had to stay in front to stand a chance. It was like the ouright fastest guy v the guy with the best race craft. Beautiful. Welkom 2003, just for the emotion of Sete when he won for Kato. Oli

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