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Telefonica Movistar Suzuki Team

Telefonica Movistar Suzuki Team

Sunday, June 20, 2001 - Montmelo, Barcelona: Team Telefonica MoviStar Suzuki rider Sete Gibernau took his best result of the season so far in today´s Catalunyan GP, going one better than sixth two weeks ago with a fine, fighting fifth place. He had been higher in a close and hard-fought race, losing fourth only on the final lap in a finish that saw the first seven riders cross the line within five seconds.

Team-mate Kenny Roberts Junior did not finish for a second race in succession. The defending champion crashed in the opening stages of the 25 lap race at the 4.727km circuit outside Barcelona while lying fifth, and trying to close on the leaders still only a second or two ahead of him. He walked away from the crash disappointed, but unhurt.

An 84,000-strong crowd rose to its feet as Sete finished a race in which he´d been with the leading group throughout. The knowledgeable Spanish fans were aware they´d watched the 28-year-old rider, born and raised in Catalunya though now a resident of Switzerland, ride the race of his life. Although clearly down on top speed, Gibernau held his Suzuki right on the outer limits for the full 118.175 km, and earned the standing ovation he received when he stopped in pit lane after the race to smoke up his rear tyre.

The race was won by Valentino Rossi, his fourth win in the six-race-old season.

SETE GIBERNAU - Fifth Position

That was the most incredible race. My team worked 110 percent to get the bike so good, and I rode at 120 percent - every corner of every lap. I didn´t have one tenth of a second to relax - even on the straights I was concentrating on tucking in, and working out how to make up the time I was losing. I was only ever passed on the straight, but I was passing people every other place, inside, outside, sliding sideways ... This morning Stuart (Shenton) and my team made the bike work better, after we had handling problems yesterday. We need to have the bike more than perfect to be able to ride with the group. I was riding to my absolute maximum, right on the limit. When Rossi came past, I thought I could go with him, but he just had too much acceleration, and of course he is riding very well. It was a very intense race, and I owe a lot to my team for keeping their concentration in a difficult year. We really need some help from the guys at the top. It´s difficult to ride at 120 percent all the time, and we need to get the bike so we can ride as normal, saving the extra effort for special moments in the race.

KENNY ROBERTS - Did Not Finish

It was a case of trying too hard too soon. I was close to the leaders, and I didn´t want to let them get too much of a gap. I knew I had to make up time because of what we were losing on the straight, and going into Turn One I just outbraked myself. It´s real disappointing. With the lap times the other guys were doing and the times I know I could do, I think I could have had a podium finish. It´s going to take a lot of catching up from here.

GARRY TAYLOR - Team Manager

We couldn´t have asked for more from Sete. If anybody ever gave more than 100 percent, he did today. It´s a boost for him, and a reward for his increasing confidence with the bike. After such a great ride, he deserved to finish higher, and I´m sure it is the first of better results to come. We´re proud to have him on the Telefonica MoviStar Suzuki team, and to have the first Spanish rider home. It´s a tribute also to the hard work that Stuart and the whole team have put in. With Kenny, the important thing is that he was not hurt. He crashed while trying for the lead. At the moment he has to push to the limit everywhere just to stay in contact - and when you do that, sometimes a 500 will bite you back.

Tags:
500cc, 2001

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