Gibernau honors Kato with Welkom win
Sete Gibernau took the win at the second round of the MotoGP world championship as a fitting memorial to his late team-mate Daijiro Kato.
The start of the race was delayed by 50 minutes after Kenny Roberts’ Suzuki dumped oil over half the track but as the lights turned green Colin Edwards’ Aprilia veered to the right colliding with John Hopkins.
The crash forced Noriyuki Haga and Jeremy McWilliams to run wide bringing an end to McWilliams spirited attempts to give the Proton KR3 a good send-off on what the team hopes will be the last ever ride of a two stroke machine in the world championship.
Troy Bayliss lead for the first half of the race on his Ducati Desmosedici closely followed by Telefonica Movistar Honda rider Sete Gibernau. But the Australian couldn’t keep up the pace and Gibernau slipped passed him on lap 11 after Bayliss ran wide.
Valentino Rossi was all over the back of third placed Max Biaggi until the Honda Pons rider passed Bayliss when the Ducati rider ran wide on lap 11. Bayliss refused to let Rossi passed despite the Desmosedici’s apparent lack of grip.
Bayliss couldn’t hold off forever though and Rossi eventually managed to slip underneath him on lap 19.
Rossi hunted down Biaggi until he was in a position to take advantage of the Honda Pons rider’s mistake on lap 23, slipping past to move up to Gibernau.
Rossi caught the Telefonica Movistar rider and sat on his back wheel all the way to the end of the race eventually finishing just 0.363 seconds behind and leaving Biaggi to take the last place on the podium with Bayliss following in eight seconds behind.
1 Sete GIBERNAU 1 44'10.398, 2 Valentino ROSSI, 3 Max BIAGGI 3 44'15.471, 4 Troy BAYLISS 44'23.004, 5 Alex BARROS 44'29.328, 6 Tohru UKAWA 44'29.511, 7 Nicky HAYDEN 44'30.554, 8 Norick ABE 44'31.268, 9 Carlos CHECA 44'32.523, 10 Olivier JACQUE 44'35.616, 11 Shinya NAKANO 44'46.301, 12 Nobuatsu AOKI 44'49.656, 13 John HOPKINS 45'00.628, 14 Makoto TAMADA 45'11.839, 15 Kenny ROBERTS 45'14.540, 16 Andrew PITT 45'33.481, 17 Garry McCOY 44'26.964, Noriyuki HAGA DNF, Loris CAPIROSSI DNF, Colin EDWARDS DNF, Jeremy McWILLIAMS DNF.