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Gibernau and Rossi rivalry intensifies

Gibernau and Rossi rivalry intensifies

Gibernau and Rossi rivalry intensifies

The first signs of a developing rivalry between Sete Gibernau and Valentino Rossi began to show through at Assen on Saturday, with tensions running high after a close battle to the line which saw Rossi snatch victory by 0.456 seconds.

The point of contention was Rossi's move to pass Gibernau on the last lap and a subsequent mistake which forced the Spaniard to run his Honda into the back of the Italian's Yamaha and forfeit any remaining hopes he had of victory.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for Gibernau, who had led for virtually the whole race, and he was visibly unhappy at the end of the race. "We've made another good race and aside from the fact that I am obviously annoyed because I wanted to win, I understand that we were at our limit again today," he reflected shortly after the race.

"I had a good chance right until the end but we touched on the last lap - Valentino explained that he almost fell and, if that's the case, then there's nothing for me to say. These things happen in racing. We had a good battle in another great race."

Rossi explained that he lost traction on the front end of his bike and empathised with his title rival after a long, hard race.

"I stayed quite easily behind Sete at the start but after the tyres started sliding it was not so easy," explained Rossi. "There were points where I was a little bit faster and it made for a great, great battle. I lost a bit of time with Barros, and with two or three laps to go I made a mistake in the long straight after my foot slipped off the peg, and Sete went away.

"I tried to not give up and made a very good time before the last lap and had a hard battle of braking with Sete as I tried to overtake. After I got by him, at the next corner I almost lost the front and I thought I would crash. It was a fantastic race for everybody. I think Sete will be a little bit angry but it was a great race between us."

MotoGP, 2004, GAULOISES TT ASSEN, Valentino Rossi

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