MotoGP's Best Battles: No1 Estoril 2006

Published: 11 June 2016

Our pick of the 10 greatest premier-class multi-rider dogfights of all time.

his was the infamous race in which Dani Pedrosa skittled Honda team-mate and championship leader Nicky Hayden. With both factory RC213Vs out, the race became a three-way dogfight between Hayden’s title rival Valentino Rossi (Yamaha YZR-M1), wild-riding Spaniard Toni Elias (Honda RC211V) and Kenny Roberts Junior (Roberts KR211V).

Elias was spectacular to watch, rear end skittering into corners and kicking sideways out of them, and he charged through the pack to take the lead from Rossi. “Toni arrived like a devil,” Rossi said later.

The final six laps were epic. Elias led, but the stress was too much and he kept making mistakes, so he waved Rossi past. But now Roberts was on the charge, out-braking the Italian on what he thought was the last lap. But it wasn’t. Rossi and Elias took advantage, the Spaniard ahead with half a lap to go. Rossi inched past in the final corners but Elias out-drafted him to the line. The margin? 0.002sec.

Words Mat Oxley