March 26, 2006 Ducati’s Loris Capirossi won today's season-opening Spanish GP to put the Ducati Marlboro Team at the top of the MotoGP points table for the first time in history. The race could prove to be a pivotal moment in MotoGP history, as it saw reigning champ Valentino Rossi knocked off on the second corner, and the coming of age of two of Rossi’s much younger rivals in Danni Pedrosa and Casey Stoner. Pedrosa incredibly challenged for the lead in his first MotoGP race and headed a Honda RC211V freight train that stretched from second (Pedrosa) through sixth place (Hayden, Elias, Melandri, Stoner). Stoner was almost as impressive, as his sixth came after missing the pre-season meaning he started his first race on a bike that was well behind in development. With Kawasaki now competitive with race leading machinery and more promise from Suzuki, it’s clear that 2006 will be a far more evenly balanced year of competition. In true never-say-die fashion, Rossi remounted after his first lap crash and finished the race to grab 14th place and two championship points – perhaps a pointer to just how valuable points will be over coming months.
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