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MotoGPCzech RepublicAugust 22, 2004
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 10
Grand Prix of the Czech Republic, Brno

Gibernau Piles The Pressure on Rival Rossi

Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) stormed to his third win of the season in front of 67,000 race fans in the Czech Republic to put his title challenge firmly back on track. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) was second and Max Biaggi (Camel Honda RC211V) finished third.

Sete GIBERNAU (Telefonica Movistar Honda Mot)

Max BIAGGI (Camel Honda)

Sete stole into the lead from pole position and set the early pace on an RC211V that his team had set up to near perfection – whatever the changeable weather decided to do. The Spanish star always looked comfortable and the chasing pack was clearly working hard keeping him in range. Alex Barros (Repsol Honda RC211V) was among those able to stay with him, along with Rossi, Biaggi and Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) as this five-rider group left the field behind and circulated in close company covered by just over one second.

Barros made a move for third place on lap 12 and nosed ahead of Biaggi, then on the next lap he disposed of Rossi for second. The reigning World Champion then retook second on lap 14. Barros then crashed out on the next lap and the lead group was down to four riders.

Rossi then tried to get the better of Gibernau. On one sensational lap they swapped the lead four times in four consecutive corners until Gibernau reasserted his authority on lap 18 and steadily pulled out a lead that was never challenged again.

Hayden had crashed out by then to complete a miserable weekend for the Repsol team and as Gibernau opened up a 3.5 second margin on the final lap, it was clear that both Rossi and Biaggi would settle for second and third. As the title battle intensifies, none of the three contenders will be tempted to jeopardise certain points finishes.

“That was a very hard race,” said Sete. “My objective was to lead and try and control the race. I was worried about the state of my tyres until Rossi tried to pass me and I saw that his were in much the same condition. That was when I pushed to open a gap because I didn’t want him too close behind me in the closing laps.”

Max was content with his third place after a troubled qualifying experience. “Thanks to my team and Honda,” he said. “Even though we struggled during the two days of qualifying we got it right in the warm-up this morning. I got my best start of the year in the race and then attacked at my maximum to keep third place. We’ve got work to do to get the bike behaving better under braking and we’ll get that done in tests here before we go to Estoril.”

His team-mate Makoto Tamada (Camel Honda RC211V) riding on Bridgestone tyres was fourth. “That was a hard race,” he said. “My sixth row start was the problem because we still have work to do in achieving better wet weather performance. Fourth was okay, but I’d prefer a fourth place that was closer to the leaders and not as far away as I was.”

Colin Edwards (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) was seventh. “During the warm-up we tried a soft tyre but it only lasted five or six laps. So we used a harder tyre in the race but it just didn’t work and it caused a lot of chatter. I just couldn’t fight properly for positions and I really need the new-spec bike.”

Barros is determined to find a dependable front-end set-up after his failure to finish. “The machine didn’t feel as good in the race as it did in practice,” he said. “The front was not giving me nearly as much confidence and even though it was a small crash it was impossible to get going again and we need to find some answers before we get to Portugal.”

His team-mate Hayden was philosophical about his crash. “I just made a mistake in turn one,” he said. “Max got in hot under Valentino and I got sucked in, I just lost concentration for a fraction of a second. One moment the door was opening, the next I was on the floor. It’s not cool to crash out with a few laps left.”

With six rounds left to run, the World Championship points table shows Rossi ahead on 184, Sete second with 167 and Max in the hunt with 158. Colin Edwards lies fourth with 104.

The 250cc Grand Prix was a strange affair slowed twice by a leader who believed spots of rain were enough to halt the 20-lap race. The eventual winner was Sebastian Porto (Aprilia), with Randy de Puniet (Aprilia) second and Danny Pedrosa (Telefonica Movistar Junior Team RS250RW) third.

Porto sped into the lead from pole position and by lap five a four rider group now headed by Alex de Angelis (Aprilia) with Porto, de Puniet and Pedrosa had broken away from the field. But then the rain threatened.

Alex de Angelis raised his hand to signal a stop. His intentions were heeded by all but Sebastian Porto who kept the throttle nailed and retook the lead. The rest of the field then caught up and normal racing resumed.

Porto led from de Puniet, Pedrosa and de Angelis until lap 14 when he made a mistake to let his pursuers through. Pedrosa then seized the advantage and pulled out a 1.14 second lead in the space of a lap. He looked home and dry.

But then rain appeared again – enough to encourage Danny to raise his hand and signal a stop after de Angelis crashed out while lying second. But again the pursuers ignored it and forged ahead regardless. Porto retook the lead with de Puniet in second and held on to the flag.

Danny was perplexed. “That was disappointing,” he said. “I tried to stop the race at the beginning when it rained. Then it rained even more at the end and no one stopped. Porto and de Puniet saw they could catch me and I understand why they passed me, but I don’t understand why the race couldn’t have been stopped.”

Tony Elias (Fortuna Honda RS250RW) finished fifth, Roberto Rolfo (Fortuna Honda RS250RW) sixth and Hiroshi Aoyama (Telefonica Movistar Junior Team RS250RW) seventh. Danny leads the World Championship points classification with 196 points, with de Puniet second on 166 and Porto third on 153.

The 125cc encounter was an epic race. What first appeared to be a stroll to victory for Andrea Dovizioso (Team Scot Honda RS125R) became an eight-rider brawl with Jorge Lorenzo (Derbi) just snatching the win from Dovizioso with Roberto Locatelli (Aprilia) third.

Dovizioso powered off the line to lead Casey Stoner (KTM) into turn one with Lorenzo tucked in behind them. But Stoner crashed out on lap two leaving Dovizioso with what looked like a commanding lead. By lap four he had a 3.8 second cushion over Lorenzo.

But by lap six the gap began to shorten. Hector Barbera (Aprilia) who started the race from 24th on the grid was scything through the field and by lap seven he was Dovzioso’s closest pursuer and the gap was down to 2.4 seconds.

Then Barbera closed to within one second by lap ten. Local man Lukas Pesek (Ajo Motorsports Honda RS125R) was having a storming race and was up to third before he crashed out. Then by lap 11 Barbera led the race with Steve Jenkner (Aprilia) second and Dovizioso third.

As the final laps loomed eight riders were in contention for podium places. The action was vicious and although Lorenzo began the final lap in the lead, there was no guarantee he would cross the line first. Barbera led, Dovzioso led and then Lorenzo sneaked inside at the final esses to just broach the line in first.

“I’m not that happy about this,” said Dovzioso. “Some of the manoeuvres made on the straight and in the braking areas by some riders were not really on. But this race is over now and in terms of the World Championship things aren’t looking too bad.”

Simone Corsi (Team Scot Honda RS125R) finished ninth and Julian Simon (Angaia Racing Honda RS125R) tenth. The World Championship points table shows Dovizioso on 183 with Locatelli on 147 and Barbera with 138 with six races left in the season.

Makoto TAMADA (Camel Honda)

Colin EDWARDS (Telefonica Movistar Honda Mot)

Sete Gibernau, Telefonica MoviStar Honda, 1st:
“That was an incredible race - entertaining but at the same time very hard. If that's the way it looked from the outside, then just imagine what it was like for us! First of all I want to say thanks to Honda, to Mr Kanazawa, for all the support they have offered us from the start of the season and for the new material we have received here at Brno. Unfortunately we didn't have time to test it because of the weather. We wanted to win this race and it was a tough decision but the whole team thought it was best to go with what we knew despite a big effort from HRC. We were competitive in the wet and the dry and the result was ideal. Michelin also contributed with a good tyre choice despite the fact that there was very little time to decide what was best. I am sure we will get to Estoril even stronger and more motivated.”

Fausto Gresini, Team Manager:
“Today it was important not to make any mistakes and to get some points back in the championship. It wasn't easy to leave the new material in the box but Sete preferred to concentrate on the race and use the bike he already knew so this is a great result for him and the team. It was fundamental to get back on the top step of the podium. Tomorrow we'll concentrate on the tests we have organised alongside Honda, who are keen to prepare as well as possible for what promises to be a very tough end to the season.”

Max Biaggi , Camel Honda (Michelin Tyres): 3rd:
“First of all I have to thank my team and Honda because despite the problems we had during the weekend, in the short time between the end of the warm-up and the race they managed to get in shape to fight for the podium. I think I put the rest in, firstly with a good start, probably my best of the year, and then fighting tooth and nail for the top spots. We weren’t right in the braking areas, and now we have two test days where I want to get the bike ready to take on Estoril.”

Sito Pons, Camel Honda (Team Principal):
“it was a great day for our team with Max on the podium and Makoto fourth. I can’t say I’m 100% satisfied though, because we lost points in the overall standings to our main rivals. Nevertheless that is recoverable if we remember that there are still six races left this year. Now we will focus on the two test days here tomorrow and Tuesday in Brno, to refine the bike’s set-up and because we can hope for better days than these in terms of the weather.”

Makoto Tamada, Camel Honda (Bridgestone Tyres): 4th:
“It was a shame about the grid position, my whole race depended on the start to see if I could get amongst the top guys. I would have preferred a fourth place where I fought with the top riders. Anyway, the race served to get some important information for our development, and to improve our chances, especially because after Estoril comes Japan, my home race and I want everything right so I can return to winning ways there!”

Gianluca Montiron, Camel Honda (Makoto Tamada Team Manager):
“I really happy with the work Makoto and the team have done, They found a good balance on the bike even though there were many more things to try to get it better. It was also a fortunate race, which Makoto ended with a positive result, and all from his sixth row start with a time set in the wet, conditions in which we are still not competitive. Nevertheless we fought back, Makoto gave everything, and took this great result.”

Colin Edwards, Telefonica MoviStar Honda, 7th:
“We put a soft tyre on in the warm-up which we ruled out for the race because it was spent after six laps. We went for a harder tyre - the same as the other Honda and Michelin riders - but it didn't work well with my chassis. I started to get some chattering problems after a few laps and it prevented me from pushing forward. To really get over the chattering problem I need the new chassis from Honda - I am the only Honda rider on Michelin tyres using the same chassis as at the start of the season.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda, dnf - crash:
“This morning was really good. It was nice to be fastest. We decided to use a slightly harder tyre in the race as I wanted to be there at the end fighting. In the race everything felt okay. I could run at the pace of the leaders but I didn’t really have anything on them. There were a few places on the track I was losing on them but generally I was having a quiet race just learning. Towards the end I could see the guys in front moving around and I thought with my conserved tyres I could be in with a chance. I just made a little mistake in turn 1. Max got in really hot under Valentino and I got kinda’ sucked in. I saw what was going on out of the corner of my eye and just lost concentration for a fraction of a second. One moment the door was opening the next I was on the floor. I just wanted to keep pushing and not cruise around in fourth; that would have been no good. It’s not cool to crash out with only a few laps left but it’s all definitely part of learning.”

Alex Barros, Repsol Honda, dnf - crash:
“For the first time this weekend the front tyre felt a little bit on the limit in the warm up this morning. In the race I made some small mistake in the early stages and Valentino and Max get past me. I then have to really concentrate and get my position back again. The machine did not feel as good as in the qualifying days; the front was not giving me so much confidence. When I took back second position I open the throttle, not using any break and the front just goes. We need to look at the telemetry. It was a very small crash, very little damage but it was impossible to get going again. We test here for the next few days and we need to find and answer to the front grip problems before we get to Portugal.”

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 10
Grand Prix of the Czech Republic, Brno

1 Sete GIBERNAU (Telefonica Movistar Honda Mot)
2 Valentino ROSSI (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha)
3 Max BIAGGI (Camel Honda)
4 Makoto TAMADA (Camel Honda)
5 Loris CAPIROSSI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
6 Carlos CHECA (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha)
7 Colin EDWARDS (Telefonica Movistar Honda Mot)
8 Norick ABE (Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3)
9 Marco MELANDRI (Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3)
10 Kenny ROBERTS (Team Suzuki MotoGP)
11 Neil HODGSON (D'Antin MotoGP)
12 Shinya NAKANO (Kawasaki Racing Team)
13 Alex HOFMANN (Kawasaki Racing Team)
14 Jeremy McWILLIAMS (MS Aprilia Racing)
15 Nobuatsu AOKI (Proton Team KR)

Sete GIBERNAU (Telefonica Movistar Honda Mot)
1 Sebastian PORTO (Repsol - Aspar Team 250cc)
2 Randy DE PUNIET (Safilo Carrera - LCR)
3 Daniel PEDROSA (Telefonica Movistar Honda 250)
4 Anthony WEST (Freesoul Abruzzo Racing Team)
5 Toni ELIAS (Fortuna Honda)
6 Roberto ROLFO (Fortuna Honda)
7 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Telefonica Movistar Honda 250)
8 Chaz DAVIES (Aprilia Racing)
9 Manuel POGGIALI (MS ApriliaTeam)
10 Hector FAUBEL (refusa - Aspar Team 250cc)
11 Dirk HEIDOLF (refusa - Aspar Team 250cc)
12 Hugo MARCHAND (Freesoul Abruzzo Racing Team)
13 Gregory LEBLANC (Leblanc Racing Team)
14 Jakub SMRZ (Molenaar Racing)
15 Joan OLIVE (Campetella Racing)
1 Jorge LORENZO (Caja Madrid Derbi Racing)
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Kopron Team Scot)
3 Roberto LOCATELLI (Safilo Carrera - LCR)
4 Pablo NIETO (Master - Repsol Team 125cc)
5 Gino BORSOI ( Racing)
6 Steve JENKNER (Rauch Bravo)
7 Hector BARBERA (Seedorf Racing)
8 Mirko GIANSANTI (Matteoni Racing)
9 Simone CORSI (Kopron Team Scot)
10 Julian SIMON (Angaia Racing)
11 Roberto LOCATELLI (Safilo Carrera - LCR)
12 Andrea BALLERINI (Sterilgarda Racing)
13 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Seedorf Racing)
14 Mattia PASINI (Safilo Carrera - LCR)
15 Fabrizio LAI (Metis Gilera Racing Team)
Related Links

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

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