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Gibernau relying on Honda and Michelin for another winning combination

Gibernau relying on Honda and Michelin for another winning combination

Gibernau relying on Honda and Michelin for another winning combination

Sete Gibernau returns to Europe with high expectations for the Gran Premio Marlboro de España this weekend following his masterful victory at Welkom on April 27. The Spaniard now holds second place in the 2003 provisional standings behind reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi and believes that, as in South Africa two weeks ago, the combination between his Honda RC211V and the latest generation of Michelin tyres could hold the key at this technically demanding circuit.

`The Honda is a very well balanced motorcycle,´ says Gibernau. `It enables the rider to focus on riding, and as a rider I appreciate that very much, because it allows me to focus on set-up and looking for the best race tyres. The Michelin guys always work very hard, and they always listen to what the riders have to say. You can tell that they listen to us because they keep bringing better tyres. The big improvements for 2003 are the feel and the race-distance consistency of both the fronts and rears. The latest four-stroke MotoGP bikes have an unbelievable amount of horsepower, but Michelin are able to give us tyres with great grip, feel and endurance.

Hot conditions and a dusty surface made rubber choice a key consideration at the Phakisa Freeway, but Gibernau believes Jerez holds a different type of challenge: `The front tyre is very important at Jerez, you need the front to turn well and to give good feel. The two most important sections of the track are the last two fast rights and the right-hander onto the back straight, through there the front needs to do a lot of turning at the same lean angle.

`The rear is obviously hugely important as well, because the big thing with these bikes is how fast you can get on the throttle out of the corners, to use all that power. The bikes also have so much torque, which makes the tyre work very hard in that area where you´re picking up the bike out of the corner, where you need all the grip. My favourite part of Jerez is the last, fast rights. You can always feel when you get them right because the revs are really high and you may touch the rev limiter before the final hairpin. If you do that, and the rest of the lap was good, you know it´s going to be a fast one.´

MotoGP, 2003

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