MotoGP > MotoGP 2005 Round 04: France GP > Race Results
MotoGPFranceMay 15, 2005
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 4
France Grand Prix at Le Mans

Gibernau Back in The Hunt With Strong Second

Qualifying >>

Sete Gibernau (Team Movistar Honda RC211V) got his season back on track here at Le Mans with a fighting second place to Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) in front of 75,000 French fans. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) was third.



Sete Gibernau (Team Movistar Honda MotoGP)


Sete Gibernau (Team Movistar Honda MotoGP)


Droplets of rain threatened the dry track at the start, but happily failed to fall in any numbers as the race got underway. Edwards led away from the lights from Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) and peeled into turn one ahead of the bunched-up pack.

Rossi and Gibernau were well down the order in sixth and seventh as Edwards, Hayden and Loris Capirossi (Ducati) made the early running from Marco Melandri (Team Movistar Honda RC211V) and Shinya Nakano (Kawasaki).

By lap four Rossi was up to fourth and putting in early fastest laps. Gibernau made a mistake and dropped back just as he was making progress, and Alex Barros (Camel Honda RC211V) capitalized on his error. But as the Spaniard got the feel of his RC211V in race trim he soon began making his way forwards again.

Edwards was looking comfortable at the front with Hayden unable to make an impression on his lead in second as Rossi grabbed third from Capirossi on lap seven of the 28-lap contest. Meanwhile Melandri and Gibernau were locked together in fifth and sixth.

But this was when Gibernau began his remorseless charge to the front setting an early fastest lap of 1min 33.937s on lap ten and moving up to fifth. As Gibernau snatched fourth from Capirossi and made ground on Hayden, Barros fell and was out of the race.

Gibernau put in another fastest lap on the 15th tour of the 4.180km track and as Edwards and Rossi pulled clear of Hayden, Gibernau took third from the American as Max Biaggi (Repsol Honda RC211V), who had fallen heavily the morning warm-up, got his race together and began circulating in front of Melandri in fifth.

Now it was a fierce three-way fight between Edwards, Rossi and Gibernau, with Hayden losing touch in fourth as Max and Melandri kept the pressure on in fifth and sixth. By lap 21 Rossi had edged ahead and Gibernau cleverly used Rossi as a shield to slip past Edwards tucked right behind the Italian.

It soon became clear that Edwards could not match the leading duo for pace and as the final three laps unfolded Gibernau shadowed the reigning World Champion. Max and Marco were now also locked in combat for fourth and fifth places in sight of Edwards in third.

Gibernau tried everything to edge past Rossi in an intense final four laps. Rossi held a 0.2 second advantage as the final lap began, Gibernau showing great coolness to pressure the Yamaha rider. But Rossi held on to win by 0.382 seconds as Gibernau showed he is back in title contention with a fine ride. Edwards held third while Melandri pipped Biaggi for fourth.

“The team and Michelin did a great job,” said Gibernau. “We didn’t look like getting a podium here – but here we are in second place. I took it steady until I could feel how good the bike was and then I made my way to the front. But I just couldn’t get the win. We go to Mugello in strong shape now because we learned a lot here this weekend.”

Melandri said, “We suffered a lot at the start but from there on we managed a good pace. The morning warm-up didn’t help with tyre choice because the temperature was low and there were damp patches, and I went for a tyre that was little too hard. But this is only the second dry race this season and we’ve got a lot of useful information now.”

For Max this was another reasonable result salvaged from impending disaster. “A very hard race,” he said. “After the warm-up crash I didn’t think I could race. When I put my leathers on I wasn’t even sure if I could make it to the flag. But adrenaline is an incredible fuel – although by the end of the race I couldn’t even get off the bike. This fifth place is really important in terms of points for the team.”

Nicky was typically honest. “Really disappointing,” he said. “I got a really good start, but then ten laps from the end I had a lot of chatter. I don’t really know why and we need to find out. It’s a lame excuse but I just went backwards. It’s been a hard weekend but I thought we were in with a chance here.”

Troy Bayliss (Camel Honda RC211V) said, “I’m happy to have finished the race, to have had a good battle with Olivier Jacque, and to have beaten him. There is still ground to be made up because I’m still not comfortable on the bike – not to ride at the limit anyway. I did my fastest lap on the last one, so there is obviously room for improvement with set-up.”

Jurgen van den Goorbergh, standing in for the injured Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda RC211V), finished 14th and said, “During the last two sessions we didn’t complete all the work that we planned, so we didn’t have a clear idea which tyres to use for the race. But I gained more confidence lap after lap. This is only the second time in the MotoGP for me so I have to be satisfied with the results.”

Barros said, “I’m really disappointed, I certainly didn’t expect today to go like this. I was pushing a bit because I was trying to catch Max and Melandri, but it was hard work. I was giving it everything and I lost the back end. It’s a shame because I take no points away from here, but now the World Championship is the last thing on my mind. I want to recover and think about the next race.”

The World Championship points table now looks like this: Rossi 95, Melandri 58, Gibernau 53, Biaggi 47 and Barros 43. The Italian Grand Prix is the next race in three weeks time.

The 250cc race was a nail-biter with Dani Pedrosa (Team Movistar Honda RS250RW) diving past last lap leader Randy de Puniet (Aprilia) just before the final right/left complex to edge past the finish line 0.251 seconds ahead of the Frenchman for his second victory of the season. Andrea Dovizioso (Scot Racing Team Honda RS250RW) was third.

Dani got the holeshot into turn one but it was Dovizioso who shook of his pursuers to pull out an early lead before the chasing pack of Casey Stoner, Sebastian Porto, de Puniet (all Aprilia), plus Dani and Jorge Lorenzo (Fortuna Honda RS250RW) hauled him in.

This six-rider bunch kept hard at it with Stoner and de Puniet taking turns to lead until Porto dropped out with machine trouble. Lorenzo then made his move to the front by lap 16 as Dani began reeling off fastest laps to hit the front on lap 19 of the 26-lap race.

As the final laps approached it was Dani who was making the pace at the front with de Puniet and Dovi close behind. Stoner and Lorenzo just couldn’t stay with the front three as Dani turned two consecutive fastest laps. On lap 25 de Puniet dived into the lead and held it until Pedrosa made his perfectly judged pass to win on the final lap.

“That was a difficult race,” said Dani. “The leading group was very strong and tyres were the real issue with a lot of the group getting big slides on. My engine wasn’t perfect and I had to push really hard to win here. But my set-up was really good at the end of the race which really helped me.”

Dovi in third, his third podium in four races in his debut 250 season, said, “Pedrosa was very quick and I expected him to be very strong at the end of the race. But I’m happy with a podium that keeps me in touch in the World Championship. I know I can run with Pedrosa.”

The World Championship points table shows Pedrosa in the lead now with 73 points, from Dovi on 69 and Stoner with 63.

Seven Honda machines finished in the top ten here at Le Mans. Lorenzo eventually finished fifth, Hiroshi Aoyama (Team Movistar Honda RS250RW) sixth and Hector Barbera (Fortuna Honda RS250RW) seventh.

Swiss star Thomas Luthi (Elit Grand Prix Honda RS125R) won his first Grand Prix comfortably from Sergio Gadea (Aprilia) with Mika Kallio (KTM) third. The 18-year-old was in total control after the first three laps and he cruised across the line by three seconds after holding and eight second advantage mid-race.

Mike Di Meglio (Kopron Racing World Honda RS125R) rode his best race so far to finish fourth in front of his home crowd, but Fabrizio Lai (Kopron Racing World Honda RS125RW) failed to finish the race after dropping back from first on lap two, falling further in arrears, and then dropping out with six laps to go.

“I’m very happy with my first win,” said a delighted Luthi. “My start was good, I went to the front and then pushed on home from there. The bike was good all weekend. This is a fantastic day for me and there is more to come now.”

Di Meglio was equally happy with his day’s work. “I wanted a good race at my home track and to show I’m as fast as the bets riders. The bike was fast but the feeling from the chassis made the real difference. I had a bad start but got back to the front and it was good riding with the front runners.”

Kallio leads the World Championship points table with 66 points, Luthi is now second with 54, Marco Simoncelli (Aprilia) who finished fifth has 52 and Lai is still hanging in there on 42.



Marco MELANDRI (Team Movistar Honda MotoGP)


Max BIAGGI (Repsol Honda Team)


Sete Gibernau, Movistar Honda MotoGP, 2nd:
“Today we’ve returned to where we should be, fighting to win races. I’m particularly satisfied because we’ve had a lot of problems in qualifying to find a good race pace and without the help of Michelin and the incredible job done by my team, this result was unthinkable. At the start it took me a while to get used to the bike and the tyre but I didn’t lose my head or my confidence and gave it everything to arrive at the front. It was incredibly tough because I needed an opportunity to rest and allow the tyre to cool down but they didn’t let me. When I saw Rossi pass Edwards I went with him. I had a clear idea of whereabouts I was going to pass him but I made a mistake on the corner before and it was impossible. In any case this is a very important result.”

Marco Melandri, Movistar Honda MotoGP, 4th:
“We suffered a loot at the start of the race but from there on I managed to set a good pace and I’m satisfied with this result. The warm-up didn’t help with the tyre choice because the track was quite damp and I think I chose a compound that was a little too hard for me. It was only my second dry race of the season and we gathered a lot of important information. We’ll have to work hard during the test tomorrow to improve our performance in the first part of the race.”

Max Biaggi, Repsol Honda Team, 5th :
“A very, very hard race. After the warm-up crash I didn’t think I could race. The pain never left me. When I put on my leathers my back was in such a bad condition that I never thought I could make it to the chequered flag. Then, adrenaline and my big desire to do good gave me an incredible fuel. Anyhow at the end of the race I almost couldn’t get off the bike. After this I can only be happy about this fifth place: these are 11 important points for me and my team. Our job starts again from tomorrow. There is a lot to do to come back competitive in time for the Italian Grand Prix.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda Team, 6th:
“Just really, really disappointed! I got a good start and it all felt great but about 10 laps from the end it started to feel like last week in the rain. I got a lot of chatter as the race went on. We don’t really know why. We need to find out! It’s a pretty lame excuse but the bottom line is I just went backwards. It’s been a hard weekend but I felt we were in with a chance after all the great work the team put in. It felt good to be running up front but I want to do that all race. I’m not looking forward to a three-week break now. I just want Mugello to come next weekend!”

Troy Bayliss, Camel Honda, 10th:
“I’m happy to have finished the race, to have had a good battle with Olivier Jacque and to have beaten him. Of course, there is still ground to be made up, because I’m still not comfortable on the bike, not as I need to be to ride at the limit anyway. I did my fastest lap on the last one, so there is obviously room for improvement as regards set-up. So I’m happy to stay behind to test tomorrow, I want to try and get the most possible out of the session.”

Jurgen van den Goorbergh, Konica Minolta Honda, 14th:
“During the last two sessions we didn’t make it to complete all the work that we have planned, therefore before the race I didn’t have a clear idea on which tyres to use during the race. Notwithstanding this, I have to admit that the type of tyres used during the race has revealed to be great and they allowed me to acquire confidence lap after lap. This has been only the second time in the MotoGP for me and I have to consider my self satisfied for the results obtained. Here I made it to have a great jump at the start and I found my self behind Bayliss and I thought I could have passed him, but at the crucial moment I made a little mistake which made me lose a couple of positions. After this fact I preferred to don’t risk anymore to don’t throw away the work done here. In the race I kept thinking on where to make the changes to adapt my riding style to the great performances of such a bike and at the end I felt a lot of more confident. I’m sure that if the weather condition would have helped us in the past couple of days, my performance could have been much better. I’m anyway very happy and I want to thank the Konica Minolta Honda Team that chose me for these two Grand Prix with the hope that I have given them back the trust they gave me.”

Alex Barros, Camel Honda, dnf:
“I’m really disappointed, I certainly didn’t expect today to go like this. I was pushing a bit because I was trying to catch up Max and Melandri, but it was hard work. I was giving everything and I lost the back end. I couldn’t control it and I got a big smack, but it was okay because it was a hard fall and could have been worse. It’s a shame because I take no points away from here, but now the world championship is the last thing on my mind. I want to recover and think about the next race, and getting back to winning ways. I like Mugello, I’ve won there before, so my objective is the same again.”


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 4
France Grand Prix at Le Mans


line
MotoGP
1 Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha)
2 Sete Gibernau (Team Movistar Honda MotoGP)
3 Colin EDWARDS (Gauloises Yamaha Team)
4 Marco MELANDRI (Team Movistar Honda MotoGP)
5 Max BIAGGI (Repsol Honda Team)
6 Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)
7 Loris CAPIROSSI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
8 Shinya NAKANO (Kawasaki Racing Team)
9 Toni ELIAS (Fortuna Yamaha Team)
10 Troy BAYLISS (Camel Honda)
11 Olivier JACQUE (Kawasaki Racing Team)
12 Ruben XAUS (Fortuna Yamaha Team)
13 Kenny ROBERTS (Team Suzuki MotoGP)
14 Jurgen vd GOORBERGH (KOINICA MINOLTA Honda Team)
15 Roberto ROLFO (D'Antin MotoGP)



Sete Gibernau (Team Movistar Honda MotoGP)
250cc
1 Daniel PEDROSA (Telefonica Movistar Honda 250cc)
2 Randy DE PUNIET (Aprilia Aspar 250cc)
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Team Scot)
4 Casey STONER (Carrera Sunglasses - LCR)
5 Jorge LORENZO (Fortuna Honda)
6 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Telefonica Movistar Honda 250cc)
7 Hector BARBERA (Fortuna Honda)
8 Alex DEBON (Wurth Honda BQR)
9 Imre TOTH (Road Racing Team Hungary)
10 Yuki TAKAHASHI (Team Scot)
 
125cc
1 Thomas LUTHI (Elit Grand Prix)
2 Sergio GADEA (Master Aspar)
3 Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM GP125)
4 Mike DI MEGLIO (Kopron Racing World)
5 Marco SIMONCELLI (Nocable.it Race)
6 Gabor TALMACSI (Red Bull KTM GP125)
7 Pablo NIETO (Caja Madrid - Derbi Racing)
8 Julian SIMON (Red Bull KTM GP125)
9 Julian SIMON (Red Bull KTM GP125)
10 Manuel POGGIALI (Metis Racing Team)
 

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