The Grand Prix of Portugal, a very important race for the definition of the 2006 MotoGP World Championship winner, brought a strong competitiveness on track and delighted the 41,000 spectators present at Estoril with dramatic and spectacular moments.
race, held under a grey stormy sky, was characterized by many crashes lessening the leading group in the first phases.
Makoto Tamada, started from the fifth row, immediately set his recovery and brought his Honda RC211V in fifth place in today's 28-lap race with a total time of 46'27.158” with a 18.419” gap from the winner.
Overtaking John Hopkins and Carlos Checa after the first half of the race was determining for the race final result. From that moment, the Japanese rider was able to steadily maintain the position and obtain a reassuring gap from the rivals.
The 2006 MotoGP World Championship draws to a close. The seventeenth and final round is at Valencia, Spain on Sunday 29th October.
Gianluca Montiron – KONICA MINOLTA Honda General Director
“The position on the grid influenced the final performance, in fact, after some laps, Makoto had to loose time in the fight with John Hopkins and Carlos Checa. During his recovery, on the eight lap, he clocked the fastest lap time of 1'38.063” which was later lowered by Kenny Roberts Jr. When struggling with Carlos Checa, he lost the gap from Kenny Roberts Jr. and could not push enough to make up further positions. In the end, we are satisfied; this is Makoto's best result in 2006 season, the race he finished with the lowest gap from the leader.
Makoto Tamada – KONICA MINOLTA Honda Rider
“During yesterday's qualifying, I realized I had found a good race set up and this morning, during the warm up, I was able to easily define the choice of the rear tyre. Tires worked very well for the first half of the race, while, for the remaining time, I had under-steering problems when entering the corners. At that point, I preferred not to force too much and keep my position.”
Giulio Bernardelle –KONICA MINOLTA Honda Technical Director
“We can be satisfied of the job we made during this week end. At the moment we have to put Makoto in the condition to be more incisive with qualifiers and we still have to work with Michelin to permit the rider to better mange the front tyre in the second half of the race.”
Konica Minolta Honda