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MotoGPSpainApril 10, 2005
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 1
Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez

Rossi Wins Tough Last Lap Battle With Gibernau

Qualifying >>

A final turn, last lap clash between reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) and Sete Gibernau (Team MoviStar Honda RC211V) decided this race, with Rossi taking the top step of the podium from Sete, with Marco Melandri (Team MoviStar Honda RC211V) in third on his first ride for Honda in MotoGP.



Sete Gibernau (Team Movistar Honda MotoGP)


Troy BAYLISS (Camel Honda)


In bright sunshine, and with the howling wind that had blighted the weekend dropping off slightly before the start of the ‘big’ race, it was Rossi who led into turn one from pole position, but Gibernau hardly allowed him the luxury of settling into a lead before he relegated the Italian to second one turn later. Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) also took Rossi to lie second at the end of lap one.

Melandri was fourth as lap two began with Shinya Nakano (Kawasaki) fifth and Troy Bayliss (Camel Honda RC211V) in sixth. Melandri was shadowing Rossi closely in fourth place and by lap four the leading four riders; Gibernau, Hayden, Rossi and Melandri, had opened up a visible gap over Nakano.

On lap five of this 27-lap encounter Rossi moved up the inside of Hayden at the end of the back straight for second place and began working on the slim 0.28 second advantage that Gibernau held. Melandri was by now finding the hot early pace hard to handle and he began to lose touch with the leading trio.

As the race drew towards the middle section Gibernau turned up the heat on his pursuers and was running just under half a second lap faster than his rivals. He extended his lead over Rossi to 0.8 seconds before the Italian upped his pace to stay in touch with his fierce World Championship rival. By mid-race distance that gap stood at just 0.2 seconds.

Now Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda RC211V), Alex Barros (Camel Honda RC211V) and his team-mate Bayliss were closing on Nakano in fifth and the battle was just as intense as it was at the front. The final third of the race was where the action would turn from merely intense to frantic.

Hayden crashed out at the final turn on lap 20 when he ran wide on the entry into a dirty part of the windblown, dusty 4.423km track. That put Melandri in third, but the Italian was some way adrift of the leading pair. Max Biaggi (Repsol Honda RC211V) was now 9th after fighting his way through the field from 16th on the grid – and the fourth fastest man on the track.

Barros was now fourth, albeit 25 seconds in arrears of the leaders, after disposing of Nakano and getting the better of Tamada and Bayliss – but the real action was at the front.

With three laps to go Rossi ran wide at the end of the back straight, but managed to re-gather himself and shoot past Gibernau into the final turn. Sete then had the chance to take a close look at Rossi on the penultimate lap and plan his bid for the lead. They were now 15 seconds ahead of Melandri.

Rossi handed him the opportunity on the last lap when he went wide and allowed Sete up the inside before standing the bike up and firing it back on terms with the Spaniard. Sete now led into the stadium section and he held the lead until the final left-hand hairpin where Rossi charged up the inside, making contact and sending Sete into the gravel.

Sete extracted his RC211V from the gravel trap and made the line in second place, clutching his left shoulder, which had taken the force of Rossi’s manoeuvre. The partisan crowd reacted with hostility to Rossi’s win and the atmosphere on the podium was consequently strained.

Gibernau said, “Honda, my team and Michelin did a great job. The pace was high and I’m happy we kept control of all the things I could control.”

His team-mate Melandri said, “I’m very happy with this first race with Honda. I’ve never had a podium here at Jerez before. I tried to catch Sete but the pace was too high and so I settled for my position.”

Nicky was disappointed. “Just so frustrating,” he said. “The weekend was going well, I got a good start and I was right up there, but the boys pulled out a gap. I had a good lead on fourth but then I pushed it too hard on the brakes.”

Barros wasn’t entirely happy, but said, “I paid a high price for my start when I made a mistake by not engaging the electronic start system, so I got caught in traffic. It took me half the race to get on the pace and by then the front group was too far away. But this is only the first race and Estoril should be better for us.”

“I’m quite happy,” said Bayliss. “Sixth isn’t a bad result for a first race with a new bike. We’ve still got a long season ahead of us and I want some good results soon. I feel good, my motivation is high and I can’t wait for Portugal next weekend.”

Max was philosophical. “In Italy we say ‘you don’t have to twist the knife in the cut’. I don’t want to do that, so we move on to Estoril and see what happens there.”

Tamada said, “I lost some places at the start and this stopped me from making contact with the leading group. After a few laps I made some ground back by getting into a good rhythm but then I had trouble in some of the turns. I had to really fight until the flag to keep the places I made and not risk losing all the hard work we did this weekend.”

Rossi now leads Gibernau by five points in the overall World Championship classification as the MotoGP circus heads to Estoril in Portugal next weekend. Melandri sits third, a further four points behind his team-mate.

Dani Pedrosa (Telefonica MoviStar Honda RS250RW) won the 250cc race in a start-to-finish demonstration of the continuing superiority of the diminutive but devastatingly effective Spaniard’s style. Sebastian Porto was second and Alex de Angelis third (both Aprilia).

With the track temperature at 24 degrees and ambient temperature at 13 degrees, with wind and consequent dust on the track, this was a tough race – so tough that only 16 riders finished from 28 starters.

Pedrosa got away cleanly and led into turn one with Porto on his tail and Hiroshi Aoyama (Telefonica MoviStar Honda RS250RW) powering through the field into third after starting from sixth on the grid. But by lap four Pedrosa and Porto had a one second lead over Randy de Puniet (Aprilia) who had bumped Aoyama down to fourth.

Then, as Pedrosa left Porto in his wake, Aoyama fought with Alex de Angelis (Aprilia) for fourth. De Puniet then crashed out of third place and Aoyama fell when he tangled with Hector Barbera (Fortuna Honda RS250RW) on lap 11. From here on to the flag it was a lonely Pedrosa pursued by a lonely Porto and then De Angelis in third.

Andrea Dovizioso (Scot Racing Team Honda RS250RW) finished a creditable fourth first time out on a 250, while two other graduates from the 125cc class Hector Barbera (Fortuna Honda RS250RW) and Jorge Lorenzo (Fortuna Honda RS250RW) crossed the line fifth and sixth. Alex Debon (Würth Honda BQR RS250RW) was eighth.

“The track was difficult today,” said Dani. “We did a great job in tough, windy conditions. I pushed hard and did what I had to do, so thanks to the team, to MoviStar and to the crowd – I am happy to have won for them.”

Dovi, who is not a fan of the Jerez track said, “The first job was to finish my first race on a 250, but to be fourth at a track I don’t like is good. The wind and the dirt made this a very physical race and the front-end of my bike wasn’t perfect. So now to Estoril, which I like.”

Pedrosa now leads the 250cc World Championship by five points from Porto, with De Angelis third.

Marco Simoncelli (Aprilia) won the 125cc race after his main challenger Thomas Luthi (Elit Grand Prix Honda RS125R) dropped out just after the halfway stage of this 24-lap race. Mika Kallio (KTM) was second and Fabrizio Lai (Kopron Racing World Honda RS125RW) finished third.

The KTMs of Mika Kallio and Gabor Talmacsi made turn one ahead of the pack, but it was Simoncelli and Luthi who soon put their stamp on the 24-lap contest, with Luthi pulling out a lead on lap four. Pablo Nieto (Derbi) was soon up with them and a five rider group now controlled the race: Luthi, Kallio, Nieto, Lai and Mattia Pasini (Aprilia).

But when they hit backmarkers as early as lap 10, the pattern changed and Nieto headed the field after getting the better of the pack as they barged past the hapless straggler. But then Luthi dropped out of the race on lap 16 with electrical trouble and Simoncelli drew clear.

As the flag loomed Simoncelli held a 1.6 second lead over Nieto and Lai, before Nieto crashed at the final turn handing second place to Lai with two laps to go. But Kallio squeezed past Lai for second one lap later with Nieto remounting to finish 12th.

“Mika passed me at the final turn where I knew he’d try,” said Lai. “But even if I thought I’d get second, it’s not a bad result getting a podium in the first race of the season, especially when it was so windy out there.”

Alvaro Bautista (Seedorf Racing Honda RS125RW) crashed out on lap one. “I got hit from behind and the same thing happened last year on lap two,” he said. Mike Di Meglio (Kopron Racing World Honda RS125R) finished just outside the top ten in 11th.

Simoncelli leads the World Championship points table with 25 points to Kallio’s 20 and Lai’s 16.



Max BIAGGI (Repsol Honda Team)


Makoto TAMADA (KOINICA MINOLTA Honda Team)


Sete Gibernau, Movistar Honda MotoGP, 2nd:
“We set a really fast pace throughout the race and in the end I slowed down a little to see where Valentino’s strong points were. We pressured each other hard and in the end I have the peace of mind that I did everything I could and that in general we’re already at a high level at the first race. It’s going to be a long and hard championship. I don’t want such a great race to be reduced to what happened in the final corner. I love this sport and I don’t want to get involved in politics, I just want to stay strong and calm and remain focused on our dream. I led the race from the start, I wanted to have a look at Rossi’s pace and I think it was the right strategy. We have to keep going now.”

Marco Melandri, Movistar Honda MotoGP: 3rd:
“To make my Honda debut at Jerez and finish on the podium is more than I could have dreamed of. I’d never been on the podium at this circuit and I want to share the moment with Gresini, Hon! da, Michelin and MoviStar. At the start of the race I tried to follow Sete but his pace was incredible so I just focused on my own race and tried to hold my position. Then Hayden made a mistake and I moved up to third. A front row start and a podium finish give me a lot of confidence for Estoril”.

“I can’t say I’m satisfied with fourth place, especially because of how it came about. I’m happy when I fight at the front, for podium positions, not when I’m so behind. If I was fourth and one second behind, then fine, I can say I was there or thereabouts, that I lost the battle with the others, looking to win it. But so far away, I can’t say that I’m happy. I paid a high price for my start, when I made the mistake of not engaging the electronic start system and I was caught in the traffic. Then I ran wide as I tried to go past, and at the end it took me half a race to get up to the right pace: by then the front group was much too far away. Nevertheless, this is only the first race, and now I have to do better in Estoril.”

Troy Bayliss, Camel Honda, 6th :
“I’m quite happy. I think that sixth isn’t a bad result for the first race with a new bike. I’m happy for the team too. We still have a long season ahead of us, and I need and want to get on that bike and do some good races. I feel good, now my motivation is even greater and I can’t wait for the Portuguese GP next week.”

Makoto Tamada, Konica Minolta Honda, 8th:
“Unluckily I have lost some positions during the start and this didn’t allow me to try to remain with the fastest group. After some laps I have conquered back some position by keeping a good rhythm, but just after half of the race I hade some complications in entering each turn. For this motive I had to fight until the last lap without the full potential of my RC211V to don’t risk to lose all the hard work done during the Spanish weekend.”

Max Biaggi, Repsol Honda Team: 7th:
“This is not a GP to forget about: this is a GP to remember very well. It’s not the situation to describe my race. In Italy we say that you don’t have to move the knife inside the scar. I don’t want to do it. From the place we started our result could have been much worse. I’m not even satisfied with my coming back. But I’m serene, because I know I gave the best until the chequered flag. Anything more could not be possible. With my riding condition it’s already a result that I didn’t fall. I leave with a big question mark on my shoulder, heavy like rock. Not only for me, I hope.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda Team: DNF
“I’m just so frustrated! Most of the weekend we had been going real well. I gotta’ good start and was right there. The boys pulled a bit of a gap but I managed to close it up again. It all felt pretty comfortable really. I had a good lead on fourth but I was pushing and in the end crashed on the brakes at the last corner. I’m so disappointed. We all worked so hard over the winter and to be so close at the first race and get no points is hard. My thumb’s a bit of a worry. I need to get it checked out.”


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 1
Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez


line
MotoGP
1 Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha)
2 Sete Gibernau (Team Movistar Honda MotoGP)
3 Marco MELANDRI (Team Movistar Honda MotoGP)
4 Alex BARROS (Camel Honda)
5 Shinya NAKANO (Kawasaki Racing Team)
6 Troy BAYLISS (Camel Honda)
7 Max BIAGGI (Repsol Honda Team)
8 Makoto TAMADA (KOINICA MINOLTA Honda Team)
9 Colin EDWARDS (Gauloises Yamaha Team)
10 Carlos Checa (Ducati Marlboro Team)
11 Alex HOFMANN (Kawasaki Racing Team)
12 Toni ELIAS (Fortuna Yamaha Team)
13 Loris CAPIROSSI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
14 John HOPKINS (Team Suzuki MotoGP)
15 Roberto ROLFO (D'Antin MotoGP)



Sete Gibernau (Team Movistar Honda MotoGP)
250cc
1 Daniel PEDROSA (Telefonica Movistar Honda 250cc)
2 Sebastian PORTO (Aprilia Aspar 250cc)
3 Alex DE ANGELIS (MS Aprilia Italia Corse)
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Team Scot)
5 Hector BARBERA (Fortuna Honda)
6 Jorge LORENZO (Fortuna Honda)
7 Roberto LOCATELLI (Carrera Sunglasses - LCR)
8 Alex DEBON (Wurth Honda BQR)
9 Simone CORSI (MS Aprilia Italia Corse)
10 Mirko GIANSANTI (Matteoni Racing)
11 Chaz DAVIES (Aprilia Germany)
12 Radomil ROUS (Wurth Honda BQR)
13 Alex BALDOLINI (Campetella Racing)
14 Andrea BALLERINI (Abruzzo Racing Team)
15 Gregory LEBLANC (Equipe GP de France - Scrab)
125cc
1 Marco SIMONCELLI (Nocable.it Race)
2 Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM GP125)
3 Fabrizio LAI (Kopron Racing World)
4 Mattia PASINI (Totti Top Sport - NGS)
5 Gabor TALMACSI (Red Bull KTM GP125)
6 Manuel POGGIALI (Metis Racing Team)
7 Hector FAUBEL (Master Aspar)
8 Joan OLIVE (Nocable.it Race)
9 Julian SIMON (Red Bull KTM GP125)
10 Manuel HERNANDEZ (Totti Top Sport - NGS)
11 Mike DI MEGLIO (Kopron Racing World)
12 Pablo NIETO (Caja Madrid - Derbi Racing)
13 Jordi CARCHANO (MVA Aspar)
14 Aleix ESPARGARO (Seedorf RC3 - Tiempo Holidays)
15 Nicolas TEROL (Caja Madrid - Derbi Racing)

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