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Gibernau defends lead on familiar territory

Gibernau defends lead on familiar territory

Gibernau defends lead on familiar territory

Sete Gibernau defends his dwindling leadership of the MotoGP World Championship in positive mood this weekend, with a strong record at Assen giving the Spaniard reason to believe he can maintain his advantage over Valentino Rossi. Gibernau leads by just five points after successive wins for Rossi at Mugello and Catalunya but Honda's top rider so far this season is confident he can get back to winning ways on Saturday and gather valuable momentum for a spell of four races in five weeks.

"Assen is one of my favourite circuits on the calendar and I have always had good results there – third place on the 500 in 1999 and victory last year in MotoGP," comments Gibernau, who is pressing for priority treatment from HRC. "Hopefully we can have some good qualifying sessions and keep it going.

"This is an important spell for the championship and we have to keep giving 120% at each circuit. After Catalunya we continued working with Michelin on the chattering problems, which have been present to a greater or lesser extent depending on the circuit.

"Hopefully it won't be so critical at Assen. The test also allowed the team to have a look at a couple of other little things that are not allowing us to enjoy the full potential of the RC211V. Yamaha have made a massive step forward whilst we are going against the wind a bit at the moment.

"We had a perfect preseason but we haven't really benefited from the progress we made because in March the settings completely changed with the new chassis. We've had chattering since the first race and we've been trying to solve it – now I think we are back to the level of competitiveness that we had in winter.

"The problem is that during this time the rest have had chance to improve and the advantage that we had initially isn't as evident now. We are working with Honda to get the maximum potential out of the bike, concentrating mainly on this chattering problem and the lack of grip.

"Thanks to the help of both Honda and Michelin we are finding the right direction. At Assen the set-up will be fundamental – it's really vital to find that balance between agility and stability".

Tags:
MotoGP, 2004, GAULOISES TT ASSEN

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