2006 Spanish GP
Every MotoGP fan will remember the iconic moment that Kentucky Kid, Nicky Hayden claimed a shock world title in Valencia. Though his chances were slim on arrival at the track, his attitude was positive as always and, on his leathers, spelt ‘ALL IN’ with a stack of gambling chips and a poker hand.
His victory came at the cost of a disaster for current leader Valentino Rossi, who despite taking pole position, made a terrible start and was passed by six riders on the first lap. Rossi struggled to get within 1.5 seconds of the lap times he had set the day before and slid out on lap five, lending Hayden the opportunity to bounce back and become the first American to win the MotoGP in six years.
2009 British GP
In his second season in the premier class, Italian rider Andrea Dovizioso shocked at Donington Park when he took his maiden MotoGP victory and second podium. As a dramatic race with unpredictable weather unfolded, title contenders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo crashed out of the race, resulting in two shock satellite podiums and Dovizioso’s win.
Despite the likes of MotoGP icons Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden competing, it was underdog Colin Edwards riding for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 who snatched second, LCR Honda’s Randy de Puniet in third and Andrea Dovizioso grabbing the silverware, with all three riders climbing the podium for the very first time in the 2009 season.
2016 Dutch GP
The sodden Assen race in 2016 has been branded ‘Miller’s Miracle’ as Australian rookie, Jack Miller shone through the rain clouds to claim his first victory. With reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo struggling in the poor conditions, he dropped to the back of the field and landed in 19th place.
At the same time, rider after rider succumbed to the dismal conditions and seven, including Rossi, Dovizioso and Petrucci, resulted in DNFs. But Miller emerged victorious, overtaking the cautious championship leader Marc Marquez and rode flawlessly to become the first Independent Team rider to win since Toni Elias in 2006. In third was Scott Redding, to achieve a rare double podium for satellite teams.
2019 San Marino GP
Fabio Quartararo entered the premier class as a dark horse, signed late for Petronas Yamaha when Dani Pedrosa turned down the ride in favour of a KTM test rider role. By the time of the race at Misano, the new recruit had already become the youngest ever polesitter in MotoGP and set a new lap record at Assen.
But the San Marino race came down to the wire, and proved the Frenchman had the capability to challenge the reigning champion, Marc Marquez. In the unstoppable Marquez era, fans were exhilarated in seeing him challenged by a rookie. Though a disappointed Quartararo didn’t take the victory, it was a moment in history for the number 20, hinting at the young talent emerging and things to come in the next decade of World Championship motorcycle racing.
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