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MotoGPBrazilJuly 4, 2004
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 7
Brazilian Grand Prix, Jacarepagua

Tamada Wins and Biaggi Closes in On Title Leaders

There was no shortage of drama under a beating Brazilian sun here in Rio, before a packed crowd of 56,000, as mighty Makoto Tamada (Camel Honda RC211V), riding on Bridgestone tyres, recorded his first (and the tyre company’s first) win in the premier class. Max Biaggi (Camel Honda RC211V) was second and Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) third.

Makoto Tamada (Camel Honda)

Max BIAGGI (Camel Honda)

The all-Honda podium was missing a major figure in this season’s race for the title – Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) who crashed out on lap two while trying to make his way to the front from his second row start. Troy Bayliss (Ducati) then crashed on lap four.

Gibernau’s long trudge back to his garage must have been hard yards. He would have watched the action on his pit garage TV monitor as Max led the field with Hayden and Alex Barros (Repsol Honda RC211V) in second and third. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) was fourth by lap six.

Then Marco Melandri (Yamaha) took out fellow Yamaha rider Carlos Checa. Neither fell but their joint visit to the gravel trap effectively ended their races for meaningful places. But there was more dramatic action to come.

Rossi passed Barros for third on lap eight and Tamada was making big inroads on the leaders too. The doughty Japanese was now fourth and working on Rossi for third. And just 1.13 seconds covered the top four of Max, Nicky, Rossi and Makoto.

On lap 12 Makoto made it past Rossi for third, on lap 13 he took Hayden for second. And on that same lap Rossi crashed out. He remounted and tried to restart his machine, but failed. One can only imagine the relief Gibernau must have felt as he saw his current title rival dismount and return to pitlane.

Now it was Max and his team-mate Makoto out front with Hayden hanging onto them. But as the final laps approached Hayden began to drop off the lead duo. This was when Tamada made his move taking the lead on the final turn on lap 21 of this 24-lap race.

He held it to the end for a popular victory that he dedicated to Daijiro Kato who was killed at Suzuka last year. “A perfect race,” he said. “The team did a great job and the race went to plan. And this is a reward for everyone’s hard work. This race is also a gift for my friend Daijiro Kato.”

Max was delighted for his team-mate. “What a great race – even if I didn’t win,” he said. “I’d like to congratulate Makoto, not only a very good rider, but also a friend. I could hear him coming in the last few laps and I could also hear him opening the throttle earlier in the turns when I couldn’t. I knew he would be a danger. I think after three races we are back in the hunt.”

Hayden was happy with third. “I’ve never got to finish a race from a front row start in MotoGP,” he said. “And I definitely needed a good solid finish here today. I was up with Max and saw we were pulling away. I thought we were going to be okay then I saw a ‘Tamada + zero’ on my pitboard. He just came from nowhere. I’ll take this result and build on it.”

Barros, who finished fifth, said. “I’m very, very disappointed. After five laps I had big problems with the front end and I could do nothing for the rest of the race. We need to look at the data with the team and with Michelin because we are nearly half way through the season and still the results are not coming.”

Colin Edwards (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) finished sixth and said, “I was sure Sete was going to win this race. I couldn’t believe it when I saw him fall. I just concentrated on my rhythm and then thought about saving my tyres. When you feel the tyres going it’s very easy to make mistakes so I took it steady.”

A relived Gibernau said, “A small error cost us dear. We had a good chance of winning here and we could have opened up a big lead. I feel sorry for the team because they gave everything but it wasn’t to be. But the Championship is wide open and we’ll take another step forward in Germany.”

The World Championship points table now shows Gibernau and Rossi still tied on 126 points apiece. But now Max Biaggi is within range of them with 113 points with seven rounds of the 16 race series gone.

The 250cc race was won by Manuel Poggiali (Aprilia), his first win of the year. Danny Pedrosa (Telefonica Movistar Junior Team RS250RW) was second by just 0.076 seconds as they pair crossed the line. Tony Elias (Fortuna Honda RS250RW) was third.

Poggiali and Pedrosa were the best of a five-rider group that circulated together for most of this 22-lap race. Elias kept the closest to them as Sebastian Porto and Randy de Puniet (both Aprilia) also stayed in the hunt at the front.

But as the gruelling race unfolded in 27 degree heat only Poggiali and Pedrosa had the speed needed to contest the win. The last lap was intense with Pedrosa trying everything to get a draft on the straight. He got tucked in behind, but Poggiali is strong on the brakes and Pedrosa could not make a pass.

He tried again at the next turn, but Poggiali just seemed to have the advantage at every turn. Even a last ditch last turn move up the inside failed to yield a result and with a finish line close to the final turn, it was the San Marinese rider’s race.

Pedrosa said, “I tried to attack Poggiali but I knew it would be very difficult. We had many problems in practice with the front forks. In the end I preferred to finish the race than risk a crash. I’m happy with second.”

Tony Elias was realistic about his race. “This third position is okay but I want more. This weekend our team worked very well. I got a good start, but the leaders gradually worked away from me and there was nothing more I could do.”

The 250 title race is now led by Pedrosa with 130 points. Randy de Puniet, who finished seventh, is second with 119 points, with Sebastian Porto on 88 and Tony Elias on 86.

Hector Barbera (Aprilia) won a red-hot 125cc Grand Prix from Casey Stoner (KTM), with Andrea Dovizioso (Team Scot Honda RS125R) in third place as they stormed over the line. The lead changed hands three times in the last two laps, but it was the Spaniard Barbera who timed his pass to perfection.

The race got underway at a fast pace with three riders exchanging fastest laps as early as the second tour of the 4.933km Jacarepagua circuit. Dovizioso held it at 1m 58.080s until Barbera, who’d been in flying form all weekend, cracked a 1m 57.789s time on lap four.

A six-rider scrap then unfolded until Jorge Lorenzo (Derbi) who had been lying second for the early laps crashed on lap 11. The five-rider train then stuck together as the race drew to a conclusion in the final two laps with Dovizioso first to make a move to the front.

The action was as vicious as we have come to expect in 125cc racing. Dovzioso made contact with Barbera on the last lap as he fought to keep his second place after Stoner had slid past. Then it was Locatelli’s turn to get hit as Dovizioso defended his third position when Barbera got through.

Dovzioso said, “That was hard work and we all knew it would be. There were a few big fights out there and yes a few of us touched. But that’s how it is and making contact often happens in the last laps. I’d have liked a win, but third will have to do here.”

The World Championship points table now shows Dovizioso in the lead after seven of sixteen rounds. He has 125 points to Barbera’s 109 and Locatelli’s 106.

Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)

Alex BARROS (Repsol Honda Team)

Makoto Tamada, Camel Honda, 1st:
“A perfect race, with the bike settings and the tyres as good as they could possibly be. The team did a magnificent job and I did the rest. I’d like to dedicate my victory to all of them and to my dear friend Daijiro. I think that’s the greatest homage I could pay to him. I miss him. I’m grateful to Bridgestone for the incredible work they did to make sure I could be fast and effective in all the tests this week, right through to the race itself when the tyres on my Honda gave me all the performance and endurance I needed.”

Gianluca Montiron, Camel Honda (Makoto Tamada Team Manager) :
“An extraordinary day. Here in Rio last year Makoto showed what he’s capable of when he made his first podium, and now just short of a year later, he’s given us his first MotoGP victory. We had a long talk yesterday and knew what we were capable of. When I saw him lying in wait behind Max, preparing to pounce, I knew he’d be first over the line. He did it his way, with style and talent. Thanks to Honda, for a great bike, and thanks to the people at Bridgestone who, after a moment of difficulty at Mugello, just gave it all they’d got and made it to the top spot of the rostrum today with Makoto. And with Max’s brilliant achievement, the Camel Honda colours just dominated the day.”

Max Biaggi, Camel Honda (Michelin Tyres), 2nd:
“What a tough race! But wonderful, even though I didn’t make it to victory. And here I’d like to congratulate Makoto: he’s not just a fine rider – he’s a true friend. Great. I could hear him coming during the last laps, opening the throttle as he came out of the corners while I still had to wait, and I realized I was in danger. But I’m still really pleased with my bike, with my Michelins, and especially with all the work my team has done together with Honda. I started off well, with only Kenny in front, but I managed to get past him after a lap. I set my pace, trying to save the tyres, but it was too hot to try and break away from the pack, even though we were racing three hours earlier than usual. I tried not to make any mistakes, as conditions were pretty treacherous. These twenty points are really worth a lot for the championship, but now I want to get back onto the top of the podium.”

Sito Pons, Camel Honda (Team Principal):
“A fantastic day with our bikes coming first and second. The team performed brilliantly with Makoto, who achieved his first victory, and with Max, whose second place is extremely important for him and for his position in the world ratings. Our thanks go to Camel and all the other sponsors for their constant support, and to Honda who have never failed to give us all the assistance we needed to win.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda Team, 3rd:
“I’m happy. I’ve never got to finish a race from a front row MotoGP start. I definitely wanted a good solid finish today. It’s been a good weekend all the way through to finish with a strong result is pleasing. The race was a lot of fun. Early I was right there with Max. I saw we were pulling away and I thought we were going to be OK. Then all of a sudden I saw ‘Tamada + zero’ on my board; he just came from nowhere. Towards the end of the race I had a few big moments and I thought I needed to chill out a bit to get a result. It’s nice to finish on the podium but I’m not here for podiums or front row’s I want to win races. I definitely want to go the next level. I’ll take this result and build on it. Tamada did a great job as did my team.”

Alex Barros, Repsol Honda Team, 5th:
“I’m very, very disappointed. After five laps I have big problems with the front end. The machine felt good in qualifying and in the warm up this morning we were in good shape but then in the race it was a disaster. I almost crashed four of five times. Just like Valentino sand Sete. I was very lucky to stay on two wheels. For the rest of the race I can do nothing. It was very hard to turn the machine; we had to use more angle to turn the machine; more angle equals less grip. The combination makes it very difficult. We need to look at the data with the team and Michelin and move forward. We are nearly half way through the season and still the results don’t come yet. We need to do something to improve our chances. I am sorry for all the fans who give me such support here, and for the team who worked so hard.”

Colin Edwards, Telefonica MoviStar Honda, 6th:
“What a shame for Sete he fell! I was sure he was going to win this race. When I saw him fall I could not believe it, but then the same thing happened to Valentino so the championship remains level. I concentrated on maintaining my rhythm - I passed Kenny Roberts and then thought about saving my tyres. I pushed very hard, but when you feel the tyres going it is very easy to make mistakes and so I concentrated on being steady. It was a difficult weekend overall, but I hope to take a step forward in Germany.”

Fausto Gresini, Team Manager:
“It’s a shame to lose an opportunity like this, but these things happen in races. We leave Rio in the same shape as when we came here, and we have to try and take the positives – it could have been much worse. We must now think about the next Grand Prix in Germany and be positive, as always. Colin rode a good race and his sixth place allows us to go back to the top in the Team Championship. We are still lacking something to fight with the rest of the Hondas, but we are sure it will arrive.”

Sete Gibernau, Telefonica MoviStar Honda, dnf:
“It was a shame because after doing some excellent work with the team, a small error by me cost us dear. We had found a great rhythm and had a really good chance of winning here, but in the end the circumstances of the race did not allow us to. The sad thing is that we could have opened up a big lead. I feel sorry for the team because they gave everything, as always, but it wasn’t to be. I am sad because of what happened, but the championship is still wide open and my morale is really good to come back in Germany.”

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 7
Brazilian Grand Prix, Jacarepagua

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

Makoto TAMADA & Max BIAGGI(Camel Honda)
1 Manuel POGGIALI (MS ApriliaTeam)
2 Daniel PEDROSA (Telefonica Movistar Honda 250)
3 Toni ELIAS (Fortuna Honda)
4 Alex DE ANGELIS (Aprilia Racing)
5 Fonsi NIETO (Repsol - Aspar Team 250cc)
6 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Telefonica Movistar Honda 250)
7 Roberto ROLFO (Fortuna Honda)
8 Randy DE PUNIET (Safilo Carrera - LCR)
9 Alex DEBON (Wurth Honda BQR)
10 Franco BATTAINI (Campetella Racing)
11 Hugo MARCHAND (Freesoul Abruzzo Racing Team)
12 Sylvain GUINTOLI (Campetella Racing)
13 Chaz DAVIES (Aprilia Racing)
14 Naoki MATSUDO (Team UGT Kurz)
15 Dirk HEIDOLF (Grefusa - Aspar Team 250cc)
1 Hector BARBERA (Seedorf Racing)
2 Casey STONER (Red Bull KTM)
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Kopron Team Scot)
4 Roberto LOCATELLI (Safilo Carrera - LCR)
5 Mirko GIANSANTI (Matteoni Racing)
6 Marco SIMONCELLI (Rauch Bravo)
7 Pablo NIETO (Master - Repsol Team 125cc)
8 Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM)
9 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Seedorf Racing)
10 Mattia PASINI (Safilo Carrera - LCR)
11 Andrea BALLERINI (Sterilgarda Racing)
12 Mike DI MEGLIO ( Racing)
13 Simone CORSI (Kopron Team Scot)
14 Julian SIMON (Angaia Racing)
15 Lukas PESEK (Ajo Motorsport)
Related Links

· Honda MotoGP Official Web Site
· Honda Worldwide | MotoGP - FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
· Brazil

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