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Sete Gibernau upholding family honour

Sete Gibernau upholding family honour

Sete Gibernau upholding family honour

Sete Gibernau arrived at the Circuit de Catalunya today and drove past the statue of the late Don 'Paco' Francisco Bulto, founder of the famous Bultaco marque, at the gate of the circuit knowing that this was perhaps his greatest chance of honouring his grandfather with home glory. Gibernau holds a 10 point lead in the MotoGP World Championship after taking two wins and two podiums from the first four races and knows that the backing of his whole family will be crucial to his success this weekend.

"My family have played a very important role in my career - they have all given me their full support, my parents, sisters, and my grandparents," commented Gibernau, whose parents regularly negotiate the heavy Barcelona traffic on scooters, whilst his sister has just taken delivery of a Honda CBR600RR and regularly joins her brother on training rides at the family ranch.

"We are a close family, in fact it was my uncle who gave me my nickname ‘Sete.' My Grandfather, Don Paco, was a great person - he created an industry, developed many exciting motorcycles and helped many riders over the years, great riders from all over the world. He was a huge influence on my career but he never pushed me. He was, above all else, my friend and a real human being."

Gibernau's path to the top of his profession has been a steady process, starting road racing at the relatively late age of nineteen after several years competing in Trials events. He began his career in the Spanish sports production series and quickly made history, winning the first ever motorcycle race held at the Catalunya circuit in the 125cc Cagiva Cup race.

From there he moved into the 250 class in the Ducados Series, making his Grand Prix debut as a wildcard for the Wayne Rainey Yamaha squad in 1992 and gradually progressing through the quarter-litre class to eventually replace the injured Takuma Aoki on a 500cc Honda V-twin in 1998. The following year he moved on to the NSR500 V4 vacated by Mick Doohan, also injured, and finished the season in fifth place.

A spell with Suzuki failed to confirm the promise he had shown with Honda and a return to the Japanese factory in 2003 sparked his rebirth as a Grand Prix frontrunner, finishing runner-up to Valentino Rossi with four race wins that season and confirming his status a potential World Champion with his sensational start to 2004.

A calm, intelligent and fun loving man with a passion for life, Gibernau has his feet firmly planted on the ground and expresses a clear vision of life and what he hopes to achieve.

"I'm not obsessed with racing, I have a life outside the sport and it makes me realise the importance of down time away from the track, you cannot let it control your life completely.

"When you go out and see others less fortunate than us, even in these times some people just don't have a life through particular circumstances, that makes you realise how important it is to live a rich and varied life. Don't get me wrong, I love racing and want to win as much as the next man… I'm dedicated but I'm not obsessed."

Gibernau has struck up a unique relationship with Team Gresini, forming a strong bond in the wake of his team-mate Daijiro Kato's death last season and riding in harmony with the RC211V.

"I have the best team in the paddock, the best in racing," affirms Gibernau. "We have a very strong work ethic, everyone in the team gives 100% and we almost always improve. I'm happy with the situation.

"Honda has also helped us when it was possible, like the test after Jerez where we sorted out most of our chatter problems. They have been very fair with us. But we are a satellite team, that will not change and we have to get the best out of what we have. The team has done a brilliant job so far and everyone is fully focussed.

"Montmelo is one of my favourite tracks, it's very near the spot where I was born. It's also has special memories because I won the first ever motorcycle race held at the track, a Spanish 125cc Cagiva Sports Production race in 1991.

"It's a great track with a really good fast layout. I've had some good GP results at Montmelo, we did well last season with third place and we hope to better that on Sunday. Confidence plays a big part in achieving your goals and we are confident in what we are doing at this point in the championship, we have a strong mental attitude."

The Catalunya GP is one of three sell-out races in Spain and, with past victories at Jerez and Valencia already under his belt, Gibernau admits he would like nothing more than to complete a unique hat-trick this weekend.

"We receive great support from the Spanish fans and it's good that we can repay them with good performances. I won the Jerez race this year and I've won at Valencia, it would be great to win at Montmelo, the fans would love that, me too. Wouldn't it be incredible if we could win all three Spanish races in one season!"

Tags:
MotoGP, 2004, GRAN PREMI GAULOISES DE CATALUNYA

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