/ Motorsport

Hayden claims surprise world title

Updated: Thursday, 14 Jun 2007 16:09

Hayden claims surprise world title

Nicky Hayden has won the MotoGP world title as Valentino Rossi threw it away on the final day in Spain.

Italian Rossi had gone into the Valencia round with an eight-point lead over American Hayden but the seven-time world champion saw his title taken in front of 130,000 spectators.

Rossi was strong favourite to retain the world championship after starting from pole position on the Camel Yamaha.

But a bad start and a crash early in the race dropped Rossi to 20th and he could only rise as high as 13th.

Repsol Honda's Hayden took third in the race to win his first world title by five points from Rossi as Ducati Marlboro pair Troy Bayliss and Loris Capirossi filled the top two steps of the podium.

Australian Bayliss led home his Italian team-mate for the day, Capirossi, to take his first MotoGP win to cap a season which also saw him win the World Superbike title.

Hayden, who was third in the race, said: 'I don't really know what to say, just thanks to my team and all my friends and family for being behind me.

'It's a proud day for me and my family.'

Hayden thought his world title chances had gone when he was knocked off by team-mate Dani Pedrosa during the previous race at Estoril in Portugal.

He added: 'You just keep fighting until the end, I just believe good things happen to good people. I'm just humbled by all this and it's a great day for me.'

Rossi had suffered a number of problems earlier in the season to trail Hayden by 51 points at one stage and then led by eight going into the Valencia race before giving himself too much to do with his crash.

After dragging his machine out of the gravel trap he was too far behind to make up the gap and retain his title.