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Phillip Island 2004: Rossi pips Gibernau in thriller at The Island

Phillip Island 2004: Rossi pips Gibernau in thriller at The Island

Phillip Island 2004: Rossi pips Gibernau in thriller at The Island

Valentino Rossi registered his eighth victory of the 2004 season with a thrilling win over title rival Sete Gibernau in the Australian Grand Prix to become the first Yamaha rider to clinch the MotoGP World Championship crown since Wayne Rainey in 1992. The race went to the final corner, but the Italian emerged victorious to spark huge celebrations at Philip Island.

Rossi had to work hard for victory in a race where Gibernau fought tooth and nail all the way. It was Loris Capirossi who took the holeshot before an aggressive move from Gibernau saw him move to the front of the field on the first lap. Having been passed by Troy Bayliss for third place Rossi decided to launch his move and overtook the Ducati duo with one stunning manouevre to move back in behind Gibernau with the race still on its first lap.

That meant Rossi had his title destiny in his own hands as Gibrnau needed another rider to finish ahead of the Italian to maintain his own slim hopes. Alex Barros provided brief hope by passing Capirossi for third place and closing in on the duo at the head of the field. However, after some typically hard-charging, the Brazilian struggled with rear grip problems and his saw his challenge fade leaving Rossi and Gibernau to fight it out at the front.

Knowing he needed Rossi to fall, Gibernau upped his pace in a bid to force an error from the Italian. It was to no avail and Rossi maintained his cool and even stole into the lead on lap 19. Gibernau hung on bravely and regained first place five laps from the end, it was an advantage he was to hold until two corners from the chequered flag, but in a thrilling finale Rossi made his killer move and went on to claim victory by just 0.097 seconds.

Whilst Capirossi completed the podium and Edwards came through to snatch fourth from Barros at the line, Nicky Hayden came out on top of Honda colleagues Max Biaggi and Makoto Tamada in a hard-fought battle for sixth and Troy Bayliss took ninth at his home track for Ducati.

In taking victory, and the World title in one fell swoop, Rossi became only the second rider in history to win the championship with different manufacturers in consecutive seasons behind Eddie Lawson and also broke Lawson and Rainey's joint record of seven wins in a season for Yamaha.


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