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Gibernau on a salvage mission

Gibernau on a salvage mission

Gibernau on a salvage mission

Sete Gibernau admits he faces a mission to salvage his Grand Prix in Sunday's race at Motegi after a disastrous qualifying performance which sees him start from the fifth row of the grid. Gibernau arrived in Japan looking to cut back Valentino Rossi's 29-point lead in the championship but immediately struggled with set-up problems which have still not been completely resolved.

"Unfortunately we continued as we were yesterday, although we improved slightly," commented Gibernau after Saturday's final qualifying session. "It is the worst grid position all year although the rhythm isn't that bad compared to the starting position.

"Hopefully we can find a valid solution in the warm-up and rescue the Grand Prix, although that is not what we came here for. I've lapped in low 48s on a race tyre, which isn't bad, and they told me that my fastest lap was just too late. It's a bit tight but we've still got the warm-up."

Gibernau's Telefonica Movistar Honda team-mate Colin Edwards enjoyed better fortune today, claiming he had felt more comfortable than ever with the RC211V after receiving a new chassis from Honda on Friday.

"We began the session with the wrong front tyre but I came in quickly to change the tyre and switched back to the setting we had this morning," said Edwards. "Now the set-up is perfect and this is the first time I have felt completely comfortable with the bike all season.

"I've got a good feeling and whenever we make a change we see the result straight away. With respect to the race, we can set a rhythm of mid 48s, which is good, and we're starting from fifth so I'm really hopeful about this race."

Despite Edwards' progress, Team Manager Fausto Gresini could not hide his disappointment at Gibernau's difficulties, as his chances of winning the title begin to fade.

"Things haven't gone well at all today," said Gresini. "We've got Sete in a position where he hasn't been all year and at this stage of the season it's important to be in the top positions and fighting for victories.

"But things don't always go as you want them to and the only thing we can do about it is try our hardest to work out where the problem is and hope it works better in the warm-up.

"Colin had a good session and made the most of the qualifying tyre to get on the second row, which isn't bad. He has a pretty good race rhythm, maybe not quick enough to be in the lead group, but I hope he can stick it out and get a good result."


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