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Gibernau takes key victory at Brno

Gibernau takes key victory at Brno

Gibernau takes key victory at Brno

Sete Gibernau took victory in the Gauloises Grand Prix Ceske Republiky today to boost his hopes of wrestling the MotoGP World Championship title from Valentino Rossi, who he now trails by seventeen points with six rounds remaining. Gibernau led the majority of the race from a chasing pack made up of Rossi, Max Biaggi, Alex Barros and Nicky Hayden. However, both Barros and Hayden crashed out to leave a three way scrap which Gibernau controlled to perfection.

After allowing Rossi a brief spell at the front at two-thirds distance, Gibernau swiftly moved back in front and gradually increased his pace to an unstoppable crescendo, lapping close to record time and leaving Rossi floundering in second. Biaggi was also powerless to prevent the Spaniard, settling for third place and a welcome return to the podium after taking twelfth in the last round at Donington Park.

"This is a big win for us and I'm pleased for the team because we had a big decision to make and it paid off," commented Gibernau, who will now stay for two days of testing alongside Rossi and several other MotoGP riders at the Czech circuit.

"Honda had brought a new engine here and some other parts but we didn't have a good opportunity to set things up because of the weather so we decided to stick with what we had, which we knew was a motorcycle capable of winning this race. I was able to prove that today and I am delighted. Now we can concentrate on testing the new engine and hopefully take another step forward before the next round in Portugal."

The fight for positions further down the field became more intense after Barros and Hayden's misfortune, with the extra available points inspiring Makoto Tamada to fourth place after a long battle with Loris Capirossi. Carlos Checa eventually got the better of Colin Edwards to take sixth whilst Norick Abe, Marco Melandri and Kenny Roberts completed the top ten.

High hopes for Troy Bayliss, who started from the second row and finished on the podium here last year, ended two laps from the end when he was forced to retire with mechanical problems which had dogged his Ducati from the start. Meanwhile John Hopkins, who was also confident after setting the fastest time in the weekend's only dry practice yesterday morning, was forced to retire with an engine problem after working his way from 19th on the grid up to eighth.


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