With four of the seventeen 2006 MotoGP races in the books, defending champ Valentino Rossi’s chance of gaining his sixth premier class world championship (he already has one 500GP and four MotoGP titles) are looking rather bleak. With a 14th-place finish in the first round at Jerez, and a DNF last weekend at Shanghai, Rossi now sits in sixth place in the points race, trailing championship leader Nicky Hayden by 32 points.
To get a better idea of how this affects Rossi’s championship hopes, you need to look at a breakdown of the current points standings, as well as the # of points gained for each position:
2006 MotoGP World Championship Points Standings (after 4 of 17 rounds)
- Nicky Hayden (Honda) 72
- Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 59
- Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 57
- Marco Melandri (Honda) 54
- Casey Stoner (Honda) 52
- Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 40
World Championship Points Awarded by Finishing Position:
Considering the large number of races yet to run, it is certainly conceivable that Rossi could recover from his current points deficit and take the title. However, considering the remarkable consistency recently shown by Nicky Hayden (he has finished on the podium 8 races in a row – all four 2006 races, and the last four 2005 races), it seems unlikely that he will sit idly by and allow Rossi to rapidly close the gap. Not to mention the speed shown recently by some of the MotoGP class’ newest contenders – particularly Dani Pedrosa, who is also unlikely to give Rossi any easy runs to the top of the podium.
We want to know what our readers think about Rossi’s chances of taking the title in 2006. Can he do it, or will this year see the end of his lengthy reign at the top of the MotoGP class? Rather than a simple yes or no, give us some more insight into why you feel the way you do. Send your responses to my email, and selected responses will be posted in one of our ‘Readers Respond’ articles.