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Sete Gibernau making good pace at the final test and already looking strong for ‘04

Sete Gibernau making good pace at the final test and already looking strong for ‘04

Sete Gibernau making good pace at the final test and already looking strong for ‘04

Sete Gibernau's 2003 season can be described as something of a career turnaround. Now that Valentino Rossi has departed to Yamaha Gibernau is the darling at Honda and the multi-title winning manufacturer still retains a pretty awesome line-up including Max Biaggi (many people's very early tip for Championship success in 2004) Nicky Hayden and Colin Edwards, with the vacant saddle next to Hayden in the Repsol squad still to be taken.

Combining his vice-champion status along with the surprisingly fast and consistent synergy achieved with the RCV this season Gibernau is naturally the favoured Honda man for 2004, although he is modestly quick to dismiss the notion that he will receive or even wants preferential attention.

"During this season I never asked for more than I had," he quipped. "Honda have always been correct with me. They told me what I would have during the year and that was delivered. Now we are all trying to understand what will happen that Valentino Rossi has gone. If he had the best parts it was because he was the World Champion and deserved those parts. I am confident that Honda will be able to supply us with what we need. I am aware that they will put six identical bikes on the grid, much in the way they have done at this test. Personally I just ask that they are aware of the areas of the bike that I need work on are taken into account with the ‘04 model to help me for next year. The work we have done at this test in Valencia will help us in our desired direction concerning the evolution.
I believe the bike I had at Valencia was more or less what Valentino had at the end of the season. Sometimes it is just a matter of having the cards in your hand and then being able to move them around to the combination that you want, Honda helped us a lot by giving us the cards and I am pretty happy."

Whatever the shape or form of the motorcycle Gibernau was running throughout the three day test the 31 year old was significantly encouraged by the progress made, lapping among the top three fastest riders on the two last days of good weather. Like several others the Spaniard was trying out the relatively new 16.5 Michelin front tyre.

"We have been fast with both the 16.5" and the 17" tyres and set some good lap times, which is quite hard in one day to jump from one setting to another," he reflected. "The riding style has to change completely from one tyre to another and to do that and still keep the pace up means that we are doing some good work. Both Honda and Michelin have given us great support these days and it shows why these guys have the best tyres out there because their way to work is very effective and professional."

"From this point I felt that we have a very good collection of data to work from and to start to improve in the areas that we need to. Importantly we can know if we need to start working in the direction of the 16.5 or the 17 and the ideas we now have make it pretty clear which is the best direction. I have my mind set about what tyre I want but maybe it is early to say! The data we have taken here is very interesting. There are good and points to both and it is now a question of finding what benefits the package the most."

MotoGP, 2003

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