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Gibernau holds off rampant Rossi to claim victory in Kato´s honour

Gibernau holds off rampant Rossi to claim victory in Kato´s honour

Gibernau holds off rampant Rossi to claim victory in Kato´s honour

Sete Gibernau followed up a solid fourth place in Japan with victory today at Welkom, South Africa; clinching a race that everybody wanted him to win after the tragic events of that same GP at Suzuka.

Gibernau took control of an exciting event on lap ten from Troy Bayliss after the GP had originally been delayed by 50 minutes due to Kenny Roberts´ Suzuki spewing oil around several parts of the circuit on the warm-up lap. Again there was drama on the re-start as Colin Edwards collided with John Hopkins and hit the ground, also forcing his Aprilia team-mate Nori Haga off the track and causing Jeremy McWilliams to crash.

Bayliss led for the opening third of the GP but was losing ground every lap to the three Honda pack of Gibernau, Max Biaggi and Valentino Rossi. An error on lap ten let Gibernau through to the front and Biaggi also moved past the Ducati, in only its second MotoGP race.

Rossi fought a titantic battle with Bayliss for third with both riders making mistakes. Rossi eventually used his superior speed to pull away and catch Biaggi who then ran wide allowing his rival up to second. The World Champion chased Gibernau hard and reduced a gap of nearly four seconds to nothing inside five laps but could not get close enough to overtake by the flag.
Bayliss finished a solid fourth while his team-mate Loris Capirossi ran off the track twice and had to retire. Fifth was Alex Barros then Tohru Ukawa, Nicky Hayden, Norick Abe, Carlos Checa and Olivier Jacque rounding off the top ten.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2003, Arnette Africa's Grand Prix

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