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Last Updated: Monday, 30 October 2006, 11:42 GMT
MotoGP's fabulous finale
Steve Parrish
By Steve Parrish
BBC motorbikes commentator

Valentino Rossi
Rossi began poorly, couldn't get going and then it all went incredibly horribly wrong for him - but right for Hayden
Steve Parrish

Without any question, this was the most entertaining season I've ever seen. I don't know who wrote the script but they need to be doing it again next year.

This was a season you could never have plotted, it was like someone kept putting out the pace car after every second round.

Some people might say Nicky Hayden shouldn't be champion as he only won two races, whereas Valentino Rossi won five.

But everyone was there on the grid at the start of the season, and no-one beat Hayden in the points.

Whatever it was down to, you can't take away that the combination of Hayden, his crew and Repsol Honda won the championship - the history books will say that.

Ifs and buts don't count - Hayden is the champion.

When he was trailing by 51 points at Laguna Seca, a lot of people said there was no way back for Rossi but in typical fashion, he put his head down and caught up.

When someone's catching up on you like that, it's horrible.

If you go faster you fall off and look an idiot, if you don't go faster they eat into your lead.

In Portugal, Nicky went off, which put an even bigger twist in the tail, and the man seemingly with no chinks in his armour was finally in the lead.

But at Valencia, it all fell apart. From the start it looked like Rossi was nervous.

He began poorly, couldn't get going and then it all went incredibly horribly wrong for him - but right for Hayden.

Maybe there was something wrong with the bike, we don't know, but he didn't put in a normal Rossi kind of race.

We've not had a chance to speak to anyone from Yamaha yet, but his crew chief Jerry Burgess just said: "Two people could have won the title - one of them did, and it wasn't Rossi."

After Hayden went off in Portugal, Rossi lost the race to Toni Elias by less than six inches. Had he won, the world title would have been his.

Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden
Rossi congratulates Hayden after his title win

He rode very hard in that race but had tyre problems, and with Hayden out, the last thing he needed to do was fall off.

On a bike, the knife edge is very sharp, the penalty is greater than the crime.

If you slide off in a car you might lose a place but if you go off in a bike, you fall down and have to pick it up and carry on if you're not injured.

I think Rossi will bounce back from this because in my opinion he's the greatest there has ever been, but he will be scarred by what happened.

It will affect him, make him dig in a bit more and maybe realise he's not infallible.

With the change to 800cc next season it will be a new era, so he was already excited by that.

He's won in 125cc, 250cc, 500cc, 990cc, and he wants to win in 800cc too.

How many world champions have we seen in the past who people still want to win? I came home on a flight last night with 250 grown men, all Rossi fans, who were nearly in tears.

This season has had so many elements of surprise.

I'm fed up with jumping on planes at the moment but I'm already looking forward to the new season starting in Qatar next year.

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