The 2006 MotoGP season was one of the closest battles and most thrilling in recent memory in which Honda's Nicky Hayden didn't claim the championship from Valentino Rossi until the final race of the year. The victory was Hayden's first World Championship. Seven different riders claimed Grand Prix victories including first time winners Daniel Pedrosa, Toni Elías and Troy Bayliss. Yamaha's Valentino Rossi fought back from a 51 point deficit to lead the championship going into the final rounds. Hayden's fortunes took a dip when he was taken out by his team-mate Pedrosa at the penultimate round in Portugal, but he bounced back to win the crown when Rossi crashed in the final race at Valencia.