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MotoGPNetherlandJune 26, 2004
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 6
Grand Prix at Dutch TT

Gibernau and Rossi Tied After Assen Duel


A crowd of 90,000 passionate Dutch race fans watched Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) win his third consecutive race of the season and go level on points with Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) who was second. Marco Melandri (Yamaha) was third.

The bad weather that had caused such problems for riders over the two days of qualifying stayed at bay for race day and although clouds threatened to spoil the party, all three races remained dry today. Many riders were forced to gamble with set-up and not all those gambles paid off.




Sete GIBERNAU (Telefonica Movistar Honda)


Sete GIBERNAU (Telefonica Movistar Honda)


After a prolonged start procedure after the warm-up lap it was Carlos Checa (Yamaha) who made a super-fast getaway from the grid. He was chased into turn one by Gibernau who then shot past him to lead the pack past the packed grandstands for lap two.

Alex Barros (Repsol Honda RC211V) was back to something resembling his best form and was third on lap two and chasing Gibernau who was now joined by Rossi. Max Biaggi (Camel Honda RC211V) was running fourth but a trip into the dirt on the fast back section detuned him and he began to slip back.

Gibernau and Rossi were exchanging fastest laps as each sought to break the deadlock early and perhaps make a break. But this evenly matched pair would remain locked in combat for all 19 laps of the 6.027km track.

Marco Melandri (Yamaha) was now making inroads on the leaders and by lap eight, the recuperating Italian, who had surgery on his forearm to cure ‘arm pump’ ten days ago, was lying fourth.

He would soon inherit third on lap 11 when Barros crashed out at turn one. Melandri too would have a big moment at the chicane on the next lap as he tried to close in on the leading duo. He lost time, but could have lost more.

This was now a straight race between the two title protagonists. In the closing laps the pair again exchanged lap records, with Gibernau managing a 1m 59.473s lap and Rossi a 1m 59.473 as they duelled.

The pair touched as the fight intensified, Gibernau finished the race with a smashed front mudguard after Rossi had run out of brakes and used Gibernau as a buffer. Rossi then waited until the last lap before he pounced. Try as Sete might, there was little time for him to reply.

“Right now we’re doing what we can,” said Gibernau. “We need to work a bit more and try to get over our problems. I tried to really push hard three laps from the end but ran into chatter problems. He won well and congratulations to Valentino. That must have been a good show for everyone but it’s up to us to keep working.”

Max was upbeat about his fourth. “We were in much better condition for this race,” he said. “Even if the lap times weren’t so good. Thanks to Honda we solved some problems and gave 100% even if I was only fourth. I took risks and being on the grass at 270km/h was a sign of those efforts.”

Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) finished fifth. “A tough, fun race,” he said. “I could see the guys in front and I was catching them but wasn’t quite close enough to make a move. I’m just happy to have a good race and be out there battling after three races that haven’t been so good for me.”

A sixth place pleased Colin Edwards (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V). “I got a good start,” he said. “In the first lap I passed a couple of riders and then got stuck behind Nicky who was faster off the corners than me and I couldn’t pass him. All-in-all a good race. All I need to do now is qualify better.”

Makoto Tamada (Camel Honda RC211V) riding on Bridgestone tyres finished 12th. “I had vibration from the rear tyre and it was also spinning-up,” said the Japanese. “I knew I had to run the whole race so I could gather data. Anyway I hope to do well in Rio now.”

Alex Barros was relieved he was okay after his crash. “I feel very sorry for the team,” he said. “They did a good job and the machine was working very well. I was able to run a good pace but we may have had trouble towards the end of the race. Even so I think a podium was a reality. Nothing is broken but I feel very sore and really disappointed.”

Rossi and Gibernau are now tied on 126 points apiece with Max Biaggi still in touch with them on 93 points. Carlos Checas is fourth on 56 and Marco Melandri has 54 points in fifth.

In the 250cc class Sebastian Porto rode his Aprilia to a win here from pole position. The Argentine was never headed as Danny Pedrosa (Telefonica Movistar Junior Team RS250RW), who was second, tried everything to get on terms with him. Tony Elias (Fortuna Honda RS250RW) was third.

Pedrosa got a poor start but the 18-year-old Spaniard battled hard to get on terms in the early laps and although he was down in 17th place on lap one, he was fifth by lap three. But Porto was flying today and there was little Danny could do to reel him in.

Porto managed his lead very effectively, stretching the cushion between his pursuers when he needed to. The gap between Porto and Randy de Puniet (Aprilia) who tried to mount a challenge early on was just under half a second.

De Puniet eventually led Porto for four laps at mid-race distance. But Porto was in control and when he needed more of a gap in the closing stages as Danny chased him, he worked it up to two and a half seconds.

If Porto made it look easy out in front, the struggle behind him for podium places and World Championship points was intense, but there were no last lap heroics. Points finishes at this stage of the season looked too valuable to throw away in what is a tight contest.

“I had a bad start,” said Pedrosa. “I had engine trouble and it nearly died on me. I had the problem in warm-up and thought it was fixed. But anyway I had to ride very hard in the opening laps and in the end just couldn’t get with Porto.”

Elias was happy with his third podium of the season. “I got close to the leaders,” he said. “But not close enough. This weekend we were good in the wet and that was important to us. Now I feel much better on the bike and we’ll keep working hard so I can work my way up the podium – to the top step.”

Randy de Puniet (Aprilia) who was fourth today leads the overall World Championship points standings with 111 from Pedrosa on 110. Porto is third with 88.

Jorge Lorenzo (Derbi) won a thrilling 125cc race from Roberto Locatelli (Aprilia) in second with Casey Stoner (KTM) third. Andrea Dovizioso (Team Scot Honda RS125R) was fourth but any of those four could have won this epic 17-lap contest.

Stoner got the holeshot into turn one with Locatelli and Dovizioso right with him. Mika Kallio (KTM) was also in the running at this stage. Lorenzo was down in eighth place but it wasn’t long before the Derbi rider had hauled himself into contention with some merciless overtaking.

By mid-race distance a ten rider freight-train was in action but the pace out front was such that only the quickest men would be left in contention in the closing laps. Kallio who had been one of those four for most of the race, but he dropped out on the penultimate lap, leaving Lorenzo, Locatelli, Stoner and Dovizioso to dispute the rostrum.

And dispute it they did. Lunges on the brakes, darting dives underneath each other along the long back section of the track combined with resolute defence of track position into the final chicane made a gripping last lap spectacle.

“I’m really happy with this result,” said Dovizioso. “I saw how fast Locatelli was in the warm-up and I knew then that I wouldn’t be able to get away and so we were all locked together at the front. The bike was very good here today and thr team did great work.”

The World Championship points table shows Dovizioso in charge with 109 points, Locatelli on 93 and Hector Barbera (Aprilia) tied with Stoner in third, both with 84 points. The Brazilian Grand Prix looms next weekend.



Sete Gibernau, Telefonica MoviStar Honda, 2nd:
ÒWe’ve made another good race and aside from the fact that I am obviously annoyed because I wanted to win, I understand that we were at our limit again today. I had a good chance right until the end but we touched on the last lap - Valentino explained that he almost fell and, if that’s the case, then there’s nothing for me to say. These things happen in racing. We had a good battle in another great race.Ó

Max Biaggi, Camel Honda (Michelin Tyres), 4th:
ÒThis morning we managed to improve the situation and although the times may not have shown it, I knew that I could ride faster. I have to thank Honda, we worked with them to resolve the problems. I believed in our capabilities and gave everything in the race, getting a good start from the last of the places on the fourth row, and then fighting and taking risks, like when I went onto the grass with both wheels at 270 km/h. After the two practice days, fourth place is a positive result, and I hope to be able to fight for victory in the Rio race next week.”

Sito Pons, Camel Honda (Team Principal):
ÒIt was an important race today, with not to bad a result if we think about the difficulties we had in the first two days. We have since got the bike set-up so Max could pick up a good pace in the race, and I’m happy that up until the last few meters of the race we were still in the hunt for a podium. The data we’ve collected in this race will allow us ultimately to improve before the Rio race, which takes place next weekend, where we will try our best to get Max into a position where he can be fighting for the podium.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda Team, 5th:
ÒOverall a really tough and fun race. I wanted a box finish so bad. I could see the guys in front and I was catching, catching. In the end I wasn’t quite close enough to make a move. I’m just happy to have had a good race and be out there battling after the last three races that haven’t been so good. I got a good start and just mixed it with those guys and I’m really happy to be able to give the team something to smile about in a race. I made it real hard for myself in qualifying so it’s a great feeling to be able to go to a race next week on a bit of a high. Let's hope we can build on this.Ó

Colin Edwards, Telefonica MoviStar Honda, 6th:
ÒIt was always going to be difficult from the fifth row but I got a good start and rode aggresively over the first three laps to pass a lot of riders. Once I got up behind Nicky Hayden I just stuck there, it was impossible for me to pass him because he was quicker in the corner exits. I rode to the limit of the bike and it wasn’t a bad race, but I need to do better in qualifying to give myself more of a chance on a Sunday.Ó

Fausto Gresini, Team Manager:
ÒIt was a tough but very exciting race and I think Valentino was studying Sete for 18 laps. When he got past him the two touched and Sete was unable to recover the vital tenths that he lost because there was only half a lap left. We lost a good opportunity to win but Sete was superb once again.Ó

Makoto Tamada, Camel Honda (Bridgestone Tyres),12th:
ÒI had lots of vibrations in the rear tyre and it was also spinning up, throughout nearly the entire race. We will analyse the data to get some better information, but I’m convinced that it was important we finished the race to get an exact idea of our current situation as regards the tyres. Now I want to do well in Rio, because I like the track a lot, and because I have some good memories from there, and so we will do our best to go well there.Ó

Gianluca Montiron, Camel Honda – (Makoto Tamada Team Manager) :
ÒWe didn’t have sufficient time to get the right set-up of the bike and to get it dialled in to the new material that Bridgestone have prepared for us. We knew that we weren’t in the best shape, but it was nonetheless important to finish the race to collect important information which will help us to make progress. Makoto gave his all, and has contributed massively to getting the necessary information to make a jump in quality. We knew there was a lot of work to do and we are still putting all our efforts in, especially looking forward to the Brazil race where last year Makoto went so well.Ó

Alex Barros, Repsol Honda Team, dnf:
ÒI just feel very sorry for the team. They make a good job and the machine was working very well. The pace was very fast and I was able to do 00’s but we may have had trouble towards the end of the race. I think that a podium was a reality. I don’t know what happened in the crash; the back let go and next thing I know I’m hitting the ground. Nothing is broken but I feel pretty sore. Just really disappointed.Ó


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 6
Grand Prix at Barcelona


line
MotoGP
1 Valentino ROSSI (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha)
2 Sete GIBERNAU (Telefonica Movistar Honda)
3 Marco MELANDRI (Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3)
4 Max BIAGGI (Camel Honda)
5 Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)
6 Colin EDWARDS (Telefonica Movistar Honda Mot)
7 Ruben XAUS (D'Antin MotoGP)
8 Loris CAPIROSSI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
9 Carlos CHEC (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha)
10 Neil HODGSON (D'Antin MotoGP)
11 Norick ABE (Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3)
12 Makoto TAMADA (Camel Honda)
13 Alex HOFMANN (Kawasaki Racing Team)
14 John HOPKINS (Team Suzuki MotoGP)
15 Jeremy McWILLIAMS (MS Aprilia Racing)



Sete GIBERNAU (Telefonica Movistar Honda)
250cc
1 Sebastian PORTO (Repsol - Aspar Team 250cc)
2 Daniel PEDROSA (Telefonica Movistar Honda 250)
3 Toni ELIAS (Fortuna Honda)
4 Randy DE PUNIET (Safilo Carrera - LCR)
5 Alex DE ANGELIS (Aprilia Racing)
6 Anthony WEST (Freesoul Abruzzo Racing Team)
7 Manuel POGGIALI (MS ApriliaTeam)
8 Fonsi NIETO (Repsol - Aspar Team 250cc)
9 Roberto ROLFO (Fortuna Honda)
10 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Telefonica Movistar Honda 250)
11 Alex BALDOLINI (Matteoni Racing)
12 Alex DEBON (Wurth Honda BQR)
13 Naoki MATSUDO (Team UGT Kurz)
14 Eric BATAILLE (Wurth Honda BQR)
15 Chaz DAVIES (Aprilia Racing)
125cc
1 Jorge LORENZO (Caja Madrid Derbi Racing)
2 Roberto LOCATELLI (Safilo Carrera - LCR)
3 Casey STONER (Red Bull KTM)
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Kopron Team Scot)
5 Steve JENKNER (Rauch Brav)
6 Hector BARBERA (Seedorf Racing)
7 Marco SIMONCELLI (Rauch Bravo)
8 Pablo NIETO (Master - Repsol Team 125cc)
9 Mirko GIANSANTI (Matteoni Racing)
10 Imre TOTH (Team Hungary)
11 Mattia PASINI (Safilo Carrera - LCR)
12 Mike DI MEGLIO (Globet.com Racing)
13 Gioele PELLINO (Abruzzo Racing Team)
14 Stefano PERUGINI (Metis Gilera Racing Team)
15 Angel RODRIGUEZ (Caja Madrid Derbi Racing)
 
Related Links

· MotoGP - FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
· Netherlands


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