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Jerez 2004: Gibernau takes wet home win

Jerez 2004: Gibernau takes wet home win

Jerez 2004: Gibernau takes wet home win

Sete Gibernau made the best of treacherously wet conditions to take victory in his home race at Jerez, delighting 124,933 local fans who had packed out the circuit grandstands despite constant rainfall since the early hours of the morning. Victory in the second round of the season also moved Gibernau to the head of the championship standings with a one point advantage over Max Biaggi, who took second place just as he had done in the first race of the season at Welkom, when Gibernau was third. Alex Barros completed an all-Honda podium as Valentino Rossi's Yamaha crusade hit a slight hitch, the reigning MotoGP World Champion and series leader before the race crossing the line in fourth place – the first time he had failed to make the podium since the Czech Grand Prix in August 2002.

Gibernau crossed the line 5.452 seconds ahead of Biaggi but the race was a much closer affair than the winning margin might suggest, with the Italian riding wheel to wheel with the Spaniard before dropping slightly off the pace over the final few laps and consolidating a comfortable second place in the final stages. With Barros clear in third after a crash for Marco Melandri, who was on his way to his first MotoGP podium until eight laps from the end, Rossi had to hold off a late attack from his former Honda team-mate Nicky Hayden, who recovered from a bad start to challenge the Italian for fourth. Rossi hung on, however, and was then third in the championship, two points behind Biaggi.

Carlos Checa made a good start from the front row to challenge for the lead on the opening laps but eventually dropped back and finally crossed the line in sixth place, holding off a distant but ever-present challenge from American pair Colin Edwards and Kenny Roberts. Elsewhere, young rookie Michel Fabrizio recovered from an off-track moment to claim a highly creditable tenth place on the WCM, whilst Neil Hodgson had to retire from his second MotoGP race with a mechanical problem when lapping seventh.

Kurtis Roberts, Makoto Tamada, Jeremy McWilliams also retired whilst Troy Bayliss, Ruben Xaus and Shane Byrne all crashed, leaving Norick Abe, Loris Capirossi, Alex Hofmann, Nobuatsu Aoki and John Hopkins to complete the points.


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