[F1] [MotoGP] Champions fighting

Thanks to lots of work load, was not able to complete this writeup.

2006, possibly one of the best season of both F1 and MotoGP racing in recent times. For once there are more than one racers in the hunt of championship with only a handful races left in season. Where in F1 Alonso is being chased down closely by Schumacher, in MotoGP Hayden is hunted down to the finish line by Pedrosa, Rossi, Melandri and Capirossi (though the points gap from Melandri and Capirossi to Hayden is too big but not big enough to write them off completely).

10th Sep 2006 There are both F1 (Italian) and MotoGP (Malaysian) race on this weekend. In F1 Alonso is leading Schumi by 12 points, more than the race, people are looking forward to this weekend as Schumi will be making announcement about his F1 future at the end of the race. Dramas started as early as qualifying when Alonso was penalised for “blocking” Massa in his Ferrari during the timed lap of later. As a result Alonso was pushed to 10th from his qualifying position of 5th. Kimi driving Mclaren-Mercedes snatched pole away from Schumi.

As expected at the race start, Alonso make a good start from 10th position to jump into 6th. Kimi made a good start but Schumi made sure he follows Kimi all the way. With not much to choose between the pace of cars, it was once again left to pitstop time when Schumi comes ahead of Kimi. In the mean time Robert Kubica in his Sauber-BMW, leads the race (in his 3rd F1 race). Alonso is making steady progress on track and during pit stops and looking good for a podium finish. by lap 43 when all the leading cars have made their final stops, Alonso has confirmed his podium finish (passing Kubica and Massa), with Schumi and Kimi too far ahead of him to catch them.

On Lap 45, Alonso’s Renault suffers a very race engine failure, putting him out of race and throwing championship wide open. With Kubica and Massa right behind Alonso, Kubica avoids himself from the oil off Alonso’s car but Massa fails and damages his tyres, forcing him to make a pit stop, spoilling his chance of a point finish. The race ended with Schumi taking the win from Kim and Kubica stepping onto the podium in his 3rd F1 race.

As expected in the post race interview, Schumi announced his retirement from F1 at the end of season. It was later confirmed that Kimi will be moving from Mclaren to Ferrari at the end of season. The last three races are a “must watch” as the gap between Alonso (108) and Schumi (106) is just 2 points. For the first time in season, now Ferrari (168) overtakes Renault (165) in constructors championship.

In MotoGP, the start of weekend was not good for Pedrosa as he had a big accident on Friday, damaging his right knee badly. The race was amazingly fought between Rossi and Capirossi with Pedrosa defying all odds to outclass his team mate Hayden. It was not a good race for Hayden as, while his competitors were making a steady progress at the head of field, he was moving backwards. The final few laps were one of the best in long time, with Rossi and Capirossi passing each other few times in one corner. Though injured Pedrosa was able to stay with these two, he was too far behind to add spice to the fight. With Capirossi leading Rossi into the last few turns, Rossi made his move and passed Capirossi and during the move they both touched. Now Rossi was leading Capirossi going into the last corner, knowing that Capirossi will surely try to pass him, Rossi took the inside line, forcing Capirossi to pass him from outside, doing which Capirossi ran wide blowing up his chances of a well deserved victory (in which case it would have been unlucky for Rossi).

Finally on the podium it were three well deserving guys, Rossi and Capirossi for their amazingly fought race and Pedrosa for finishing a very brave race. With Hayden finishing well down the order, Rossi and Pedrosa are able to close the gap to him in championship.

17th Sep 2006 While its a three week break in F1, its back to back races in MotoGP (Australian). Hayden has qualified on Pole for the first time in season, giving a boost to his championship lead. Rossi is on the other side of front row with injured Pedrosa way down the grid. As the riders went on warm up lap, it started to rain on the other side of the track, forcing the race to be delayed and later declared as wet race. Still all riders start on slick tyres. At the race start while both Rossi and Hayden make a very poor start (droping down to 10th and 16th respectively), Pedrosa once again made a very brave start and at one time was upto 3rd position. Mean while Nakano was leading the race and after a poor start Rossi was making up places at a lightning pace. In few laps he was up into 2nd place fighting with Sete, when it started to rain heavily, forcing everyone to pit and swap bikes.

This was the first time, since the flag to flag race rule was introduced at start of 2005, that riders were changing bikes in the middle of a race. While everyone was pitting for changing bike, Nakano decided to stay out for one more lap, trying to gain some more time over others. After all riders switched to bikes setup for wet wether, Sete found himself leading the race, chased by Chris Vermeulen on his Suzuki (probably the rain master in MotoGP). Rossi once again dropped back right next to Hayden, who gained a lot during the pit stops. The biggest looser in this was Pedrosa who dropped back to 15th place, probably inexperience of riding in rain on MotoGP bikes and the injury being the reason.

Soon Vermeulen passed Sete to take the race lead, while Rossi and Hayden started to move up the order. Malandri once again showing his excellent skills started to close down on Sete. As rain eased and riders getting used to the track conditions, Milandri passes Sete and started to close down on Vermeulen, finally passing him. So much is the pace of the leading group that Milandri puts the injured Pedrosa a lap down. With laps two laps remaining, Rossi has moved up to 4th place with Stoner between him and Hayden. Rossi is quickly closing down to Sete. On the last lap, seeing the group lead by Rossi catching him fast, Pedrosa let them go by. With one last corner left in the race, Hayden is right behind Rossi who has now caught up with Sete.

In the last corner Rossi makes a move on Sete and manages to pass him to take the final podium position. With Rossi finishing ahead or Hayden and Pedrosa getting only a single point. Rossi (204) moves into second position in championship, behind Hayden (225) and ahead of Melandri (193), Pedrosa (193) and Capirossi (180).

With now just three races left in both F1 and MotoGP, the season finale could not have been any better.

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