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Can Gibernau strike it to Rossi at home?

Can Gibernau strike it to Rossi at home?

Can Gibernau strike it to Rossi at home?

After storming back into prominence to finish second in the French GP at Le Mans a few weeks ago, Sete Gibernau will be looking to go one better this weekend in Italy – an all out assault and victory in his nemesis's home race.

The battle of the giants recommenced at Le Mans after several weeks of Rossi dominance. After the initial race at Jerez reignited the old rivalry – culminating in the frenzied wheel-to-wheel battle that finished with the controversial clash – Gibernau fell from glory into a maelstrom of frustrating far-off-the-podium finishes.

While the Spaniard had to deal with the frustration of the subsequent off-podium finishes, archrival Rossi was decisively running off with the Championship lead, creating a gap which now stands at 42 points.

With the fifth race of the season approaching, Rossi will start off his home race with 75 percent of the early season in the bag. Meanwhile Gibernau has had one of his worst early seasons for a couple of years. At this stage of the season in 2003 and 2004, Gibernau was on far better form and had already scooped two GP victories, along with four appearances last year.

Gibernau will have a lot of ground to cover this season if he wants to catch up and challenge Rossi for the Championship title. Furthermore, the Spaniard may well be desirous of striking it to the Italian on home ground, but there are a few facts that he should bear in mind: Rossi has won the last three Italian GPs and has the second highest number of Mugello victories, with a total of five. Beside that impressive collection of stats, the Yamaha man is the only rider to have scooped a Mugello victory in all three categories, 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP.

MotoGP, 2005, GRAN PREMIO ALICE D'ITALIA, Valentino Rossi

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