Gibernau wins Michelin's 300th victory Michelin continues MotoGP domination with 300th premier-class success at Assen Gibernau five seconds a lap faster than the best non-Michelin race finisher Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda ...
Gibernau wins Michelin's 300th victory
Michelin continues MotoGP domination with 300th premier-class success at Assen
Gibernau five seconds a lap faster than the best non-Michelin race finisher
Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V-Michelin) had the honour of scoring Michelin's 300th premier-class Grand Prix victory at Assen today, riding a superbly judged race in atrociously wet conditions. The Spaniard got the better of an early race challenge from Max Biaggi (Honda Camel Pramac Pons RC211V-Michelin) who finished just ahead of World Championship leader Valentino Rossi (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin). Carlos Checa (Fortuna Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) took fourth with Olivier Jacque (Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) fifth.
Michelin's 300th win comes almost exactly 30 years after Australian Suzuki rider Jack Findlay won the brand's first premier-class success on the Isle of Man in June 1973. Gibernau's victory was also Michelin's 77th consecutive win, its 12th consecutive premier-class Assen win and continues the French company's total domination of the world's fastest, most challenging bike race series. So far this year Michelin riders have won every race, taken every pole position and filled every podium. Toda y's first nine finishers all used Michelin tyres and Michelin riders currently hold the top 11 places in the World Championship.
"Everyone at Michelin is delighted to have reached this milestone," said Nicolas Goubert, Michelin's chief of motorcycling competitions. "But as always, the thing that really concerns us is the performance of the tyres, and our riders did great job today, our closest competitor was one minute and 36 seconds behind the winner at the finish -- that's five seconds a lap. It was interesting because all our top guys chose different compound wets: Sete and Valentino chose hard rears, while Max and Olivier c hose soft rears and Carlos went for a medium. You could see in the early stages that the guys with soft tyres -- Max, Olivier, Noriyuki (Haga, Alice Aprilia Racing Cube-Michelin) and Colin (Edward, Alice Aprilia Racing Cube-Michelin) had the advantage. Sete rode a very smooth race, proving once again that he's great in the wet. It was a shame that Haga crashed, and also Troy Bayliss (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici-Michelin), because both of them did a great job too."
Gibernau and Biaggi swapped places out front until the Spaniard got into the groove and built up an unassailable lead to win his third race of 2003 by 10.1 seconds. "At the start I pushed really hard but Max came with me for a while," said Gibernau. "Everything worked great -- the bike and the tyres -- even though it wasn't so easy to see in the rain. Being out front was perfect because the spray wasn't so bad."
Biaggi lost contact at mid-distance after encountering a backmarker at the chicane. "I had a good rhythm but I was all on my own after that, it was even a little boring!" said the former 250 champ. Rossi decided that discretion was the better part of valour today, riding a steady race, 13.8 seconds down on the winner. "I could hardly see a thing in the spray, I was really worried about hitting a white line, so I decided to stay safe," said the reigning World Champion who still heads Gibernau by 38 p oints.
Checa finished fourth for the second race in succession after getting the better of Haga, who slid off with only two and a half laps to go. Jacque just headed off pole-sitter Loris Capirossi (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici-Michelin) for fifth, while Edwards slipped to seventh at the flag in front of Alex Barros (Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) and Bayliss, who had fallen while trying to fix a quickshifter glitch. The dogged Aussie remounted in 16th place then fought back to ninth.