Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 140: Retro Review - The 2006 MotoGP Season

This week's episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast is the first in a new series, in which the team take a look back at classic moments in racing history, be it races, seasons, or other events. We kick this season off with a season that holds a special place in many people's hearts: the 2006 MotoGP season.

There was a lot to get excited about in 2006: Valentino Rossi's surprise fall from utter domination, five different manufacturers getting on the podium, and some of the closest racing we have ever seen, topped off, of course, with Nicky Hayden realizing his dream of winning a Grand Prix world championship.

Steve English, Neil Morrison, and David Emmett gather round their laptops to go back over the season, talk about what happened, and why. We talk through the lead up to the 2006 season, preseason testing, whether Valentino Rossi lost focus with thoughts of a move to F1. Then we go through the highlights of the season: Ducati's rise, Hayden's consistency, the arrival of Dani Pedrosa, the bar-banging races at Mugello, Sachsenring, Estoril, and the multifaceted drama of the Portugese Grand Prix.

This was a really fun show to do, and a great season to look back at.

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for choosing the 2006 season as a start to these trips down Memory Lane. I am an unabashed Hayden fan, and was at Laguna Seca in 2005 for his first MotoGP win. I still get a lump in my throat when I think we've lost him. RIP Nicky.

For that Valencia race I was with a couple of friends, watching the race live on TV, and remember the moment Rossi crashed. One of those friends was Italian (from Italy), and he turned and looked at me in horror at that moment. I was glad I kept my emotions in check! I am also glad that I got over my dislike for Dani Pedrosa, though it took some time. :)  You could not have scripted the 2006 season any better than what happened in real life.

I've never met Nicky, but met his father and mother at the concession stands during a AMA race at Fontana, California. I consider it my brush with greatness, and Earl was as nice and supportive of all his boys as you might think.

I'd like to hear the Paddock Pass Podcast revisit the 2007 season, and am interested in your opinions of Casey Stoner.

Thanks guys! 2017 and the run of fresh race winners was my favorite MotoGP period. Deserving of a Podcast? 2006 was a sort of odd season. There is an interesting video of Rossi describing each year Yamaha sequentially, and he describes the 2006 as flawed, with a bad chatter problem. Not stiff enough a chassis around the head tube. Given that this is an official Yamaha video, he is being pretty open and expressive. Here it is in two parts, the 2006 bike is at 5 mins in on the first video here...

Second part of the same video here, you may find these interesting (I for sure did).

2005 Laguna Seca was fantastic. I was there too, all access pass via folks working timing and scoring to whom I owe much thanks. (CMF, where were you watching from? I was above entry to T2, it was difficult to move around but I also spent a bit of time over by T10 - T11). You can be there, thanks to this gem of a Mark Neale film. Find it used on DVD for a handful of bucks, and grab all the rest of the Faster et al stuff while you are at it. Loved riding that track, the corkscrew is really something. The whole dang track really, it is more a BSB sort of thing than MotoGP. As soon as you start climbing it gets...interesting. Two conventional corners on the entire layout. Way trickier than video reflects. Camber, complex limited lines, tight quarters, odd jazz rhythm, more frightening than tricky. Satisfying to figure out at whatever pace you can muster.

Very short trailer

5 mins outtakes


Viva #69 (and it is interesting how Elias comes in to play with that inspired finish). Vivid memory of Rossi crashing ("that DOESN'T HAPPEN!"). Oh my, the Pedrosa curb dive. Lots of drama that year. And in real time, there was much said indicating that Nicky didn't perform strongly enough to earn the title. Primarily the relatively low number of race wins. "The more you look, the better it gets." Rerewatching the season review tomorrow. Btw, anyone in the American region want a free 2018 Season Review DVD? Accidentally bought two. Happy to send one to a Kropot Kin. How about you CMF?

"...CMF, where were you watching from?..." 

I was in the T3/4 grandstands. For 1988 (Eddie Lawson's triumphant return), I was a coupla rows back from the fence under the trees at the exit of the Corkscrew. :)

"... there was much said indicating that Nicky didn't perform strongly enough to earn the title. Primarily the relatively low number of race wins.." 

Yes, all my friends, who are rabid Rossi fans maintain that. I say look at the clutch problems, also the development issues that NH was forced to go through, and the teeny tiny bike (made for Pedrosa) as part of the problems. We're all great friends, but they have their opinions and I have mine.  :P

David, I was the fool who didn't expect Valentino Rossi to win again in 2006. Didn't want Vale to beat Mick Dohan's five in a row.

Istanbul park circuit, great track! Thanks for reminding us of this racetrack.

Catalunya chaos 2006! A third of the feild down in the first corner. Double disaster for Ducati! Loris Capirossi, championship leader, and the new signing Sete Gibernau.

Laguna Seca 2006 another top race. Those where the days. Chris Vermeulen on pole riding the V4 Suzuki ! Here in Oz I think we had Daryl Beattie commentating on the tele. Dazzle said that Suzuki had known about the bike having an overheating problem. Apparently one issue was the water pump & it's plastic immpeller. The water pump was less effective at high coolant temperatures.

Challenging layout at Laguna, I rate it as one of the greatest circuits.

Tell us what you reckon here

I will have to listen to the podcast again. there was a lot in that one, Thanks, Neil, David & Steve.


Ape! No joking held heartfelt concern for you and your eldest son in Jan when your fires were our greatest concern. I was glad to know you and yours were well.

And now....