Gibernau triumphs at Jerez

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Sete Gibernau fought through the rain to take an impressive victory at the Spanish GP, while Valentino Rossi failed to make the podium.

Rossi had been on form all weekend qualifying his Yamaha on pole position, but with the rain coming down in torrents on Jerez circuit it was the Telefonica Honda riding Gibernau that took the holeshot and dominated the rest of the race.

Only Camel Honda rider Max Biaggi could challenge the Spaniard in his home race, briefly taking the lead before Gibernau slipped past again and pulled out a comfortable distance to take the win.

Rossi continually tried to up his pace and catch up third placed Alex Barros on the factory Honda, but he just couldn't find the grip. He very nearly became a victim of the slippery conditions when his rear wheel spun up and stepped out exiting a corner. The bike flicked him out of the saddle but he managed to regain control and hang on for a fourth place finish, the first time in 37 races the Italian has gone full distance without ending up on the podium.

The continual rain left large amounts of standing water on the track with riders having to cross a stream flowing across the tarmac at Turn 4. The treacherous conditions lead to many crashes throughout the day but also evened the field a bit for the less powerful machines.

Despite not qualifying for the race, WCM rider Michael Fabrizio was allowed to compete after putting in competitive times during Saturday's wet qualifying session. Although he ran in to the gravel during the race Fabrizio managed to remount and make an amazing comeback to finish the race in 10th position. Team-mate Chris Burns was not allowed to compete after falling and fracturing his thumb in Saturday.

Neil Hodgson put in a competitive ride for the first time on the D'Antin Ducati, making his way up from 18th on the grid to seventh place in the race. But a mechanical problem forced him to pull up early ending his first chance at a point scoring finish.

Positions: Gibernau, Biaggi +5.452, Barros +52.570, Rossi +58.556, Hayden +59.283, Checa +1:07.184, Edwards 1:19.539, Roberts +1:45.057, Nakano +1lap, Fabrizio +1lap

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff