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Gibernau eases to BMW Award at MotoGP Official Test

Gibernau eases to BMW Award at MotoGP Official Test

Gibernau eases to BMW Award at MotoGP Official Test

Sete Gibernau drove home from the Catalunya circuit in a brand-new BMW Series 1 car this afternoon after storming to the fastest lap in a dramatic 40-minute televised session that provided the climax to the three-day MotoGP Official Test.

Cheered on by an unexpectedly substantial crowd of some 32,000 people, the local hero smashed his own pole position record by 0.7 seconds with a stunning lap of 1'41.851, leaving closest rival Valentino Rossi trailing in his wake and becoming the third rider in three seasons to win the BMW Award – MotoGP test.

"My objective here wasn't the car but to come and work hard for the new season," said Gibernau. "Over the past three days we've found a good set-up for the bike and worked very well with Honda and Michelin. My pace has been fast and consistent and that is a credit to the hard work done by the team all winter. That is the most important thing about this weekend although it was nice to finish with the fastest time – particularly for the fans, who came out in force to support us today."

Rossi's challenge to win a BMW for the second consecutive year faded with his final lap, which came less than two minutes before the end of the session but fell 0.419 seconds short of Gibernau's remarkable effort. By that time the Spaniard was already back in his box and watching the television screens as a moment of drama unfolded in the neighbouring Honda garage. Max Biaggi, the fastest rider over the first two days of action, was preparing to launch a final ‘pole' attempt with freshly-fitted qualification tyres but his RC211V failed to start and the Italian was left stranded.

With Gibernau's two main rivals out of the reckoning, the main challenge in the dying stages of the session seemed to be coming from his team-mate Marco Melandri, who was just 0.099 seconds down through the first section of the circuit on his final lap. However, the Italian dropped vital time in the next three sections and looked certain to settle for a creditable third place. Unfortunately for him Nicky Hayden had other plans and, despite being unable to challenge for the BMW, a fast final lap from the American relegated Melandri to fourth.

Whilst the MotoGP Official Test continued after the 40-minute BMW Award session, there were no major movers at the top of the time sheets although Biaggi did make up for his disappointment with a series of fast laps which moved him up to sixth in today's standings. Biaggi's effort dropped the impressive John Hopkins to seventh place on a mixed day for Suzuki, with their second rider Kenny Roberts having crashed out of the afternoon timed session and causing extensive damage to his GSV-R machine.

However, Biaggi's fastest time from yesterday's session was enough for second place on the combined time sheets from the test whilst Alex Barros, who was ninth today, ended fourth overall after also setting his quickest time yesterday.

Carlos Checa missed out on the action today after injuring his shoulder in a crash on Saturday, whilst his Ducati team-mate Loris Capirossi was unable to repeat his performance from two seasons ago, when he set the quickest time and took home the BMW, finishing the session tenth fastest.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2005

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