Events at the MotoGP race in Austin Texas earlier this month and the previous round in Argentina have me thinking about top-level riders riders running into each other. I’ve been watching 500GP/MotoGP for years and seen many crashes, both solo and in pairs or more. Multi bike crashes are featured in today’s story. Here are five that are special to me because they involve U.S. racers or Ducati motorcycles, or both.
CRASH 1 Assen 2006 – This one was a heartbreaker. Colin Edwards was in the lead and about to win his first MotoGP race. Nicky Hayden was following and made a lunge into the final chicane that put the pair side-by-side, with Hayden on the outside. If Hayden continued to turn right to follow the track he would have smacked into Edwards. Instead Nicky took a short cut through the gravel trap. Edwards entered the turn too quickly and ran off track when he missed the left hand part of the chicane. Colin crashed while Nicky made it through the gravel trap and back onto the track to take the win. You can see video of the hectic finish here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uq1lIah0cXw.
Colin Edwards, the Texas Tornado, recently retired from racing after a career that featured many podiums and top 5 finishes, but he never won a MotoGP race, which is not good. He deserved to.
CRASH 2. Estoril 2006 – One of the most notorious take-outs was also in the 2006 season. Nicky Hayden was in a tight battle with Valentino Rossi for the championship. At the next-to-last race Nicky started with a 12-point advantage over Rossi. On the 2nd lap the Yamahas of Rossi and Colin Edwards were taking 1st and 2nd place while the Hondas of Hayden and Pedrosa were 3rd and 4th. On lap 4 Pedrosa tried to pass his teammate, entered the corner too fast, lost the front, and knocked Hayden down.
With both Repsol factory Hondas out it looked like Rossi could cruise to the win, but it didn’t work out that way. Tony Elias on the Fortuna Honda nipped Rossi at the line by .002 of a second. As I understand it that is the last time a non-factory rider won a MotoGP event. The crash video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOmiax2KnEA.
With 20 points for Rossi’s 2nd place , Hayden went from 12 points ahead to 8 points behind with only the Valencia race left of the 2006 season. If you want to know what happened go to http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/2009/10/article/2006-motogp-valencia-results/.
CRASH 4. Argentina 2016 This was an odd race. Because of tire problems the race was shortened to 20 laps with a required stop to switch bikes near the half-way point. What a disaster for the Ducati team. On the last lap the two Ducatis of Dovizioso and Iannone were running 2nd and 3rd behind Marc Marquez, who was safely in front. Very close behind was Rossi. On the last turn Iannone tried to go inside Dovi, crashed and took them both out. Rossi was gifted 2nd place while Dani Pedrosa, who was in 5th place, nearly 30 seconds behind the leader, found himself on the podium. Dovizioso picked up his bike and pushed it across the finish line to earn 13th place and 3 championship points.
You can see a video of the crash here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0vklxrbVNI. (I recommend muting the sound, the video creator selected some bad music for the soundtrack.)
CRASH 5. Austin 2016.At first I thought Dani Pedrosa ran into Andrea Dovizioszo, but the replay clearly showed Pedrosa had crashed moments before the impact. What must be doubly frustrating is that Dovi missed his brake marker and ran wide. If he had negotiated the corner correctly he would not have been in the path of the sliding Repsol Honda. This official MotoGP video shows the crash from several angles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeEUbxWCJyY.
There have been more multi-bike crashes in MotoGP than these five, and there will be others in the future. You may have a different set of least favorite crashes, but I selected these because I’m a Ducati fan living in the U.S. Your criteria may vary.