ROSSI & MICHELIN START 2005 ON TOP World Champion breaks Jerez lap and race records by massive margin Michelin preserves incredible 19-year unbeaten record at Jerez The 2005 MotoGP World Championship exploded into action today with ...
ROSSI & MICHELIN START 2005 ON TOP
World Champion breaks Jerez lap and race records by massive margin Michelin preserves incredible 19-year unbeaten record at Jerez The 2005 MotoGP World Championship exploded into action today with arch-rivals Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) and Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V-Michelin) fighting an enthralling duel all the way to the last corner at Jerez.
Rossi's winning ride destroyed the track's two-year-old lap and race records by 2.192 seconds and 67.189 seconds respectively, also maintaining Michelin's unbeaten Jerez record, which began way back in 1987.
Michelin riders monopolised the podium and filled eight of the top nine finishing positions, while the first non- Michelin rider was 27.659 seconds down at the flag.
"We're pleased with the pace in today's race," said Nicolas Goubert, Michelin's chief of motorcycling competitions. "And I'm happy to say I was wrong when I said a few weeks ago that we'd probably see lap times improve by half a second this year. Today Valentino and Sete were more than two seconds a lap faster than two years ago, the last dry race here, so I think the year-on-year improvement was more like a second, which is excellent. The front-running pace was very fast and consistent, the leaders' lap times only falling by around 0.4 seconds as the tyres degraded through the race. We are usually happy if lap times vary by half a second or less from start to finish. I think some of the improvement comes from our new rear which gives better and more enduring edge grip."
Rossi and Gibernau were together throughout the 27 laps, passing and repassing several times on the final lap before colliding at the very last corner after Rossi had run up the inside, forcing Gibernau into the gravel. The Spaniard rode on to cross the line eight seconds down, while Marco Melandri (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V-Michelin) finished a further ten seconds back to secure a podium finish in his first Honda MotoGP ride.
"That was a very tough race at a very high level," said reigning MotoGP World Champion Rossi after his 43rd premier-class win, all achieved with Michelin. "We were running pretty much the same pace as last year's pole time, which is incredible. That shows that Michelin has worked very hard over the winter, as well as Yamaha and Honda, Sete and me. This has always been one of my magic tracks, but today we proved that this is going to be a very tough season. My last pass was a hard pass, I'm sorry if Sete is angry, but that's racing."
Gibernau added: "Honda, my team and Michelin did a great job here. The pace was very high and I'm very happy with all the things I could control."
Rossi's season-opening victory reflects Michelin's ongoing success in other motorsport disciplines, with Sebastien Loeb (Citroën-Xsara WRC-Michelin) taking victory in today's New Zealand WRC event, Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella (Mild Seven Renault F1-Michelin) so far unbeaten in the 2005 F1 series and Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda-Michelin) winning the first three races of the British Superbike championship.