Gibernau misses the podium
Ducati Marlboro Team rider Sete Gibernau lost his first podium finish for the team during the final few metres of this afternoon's Australian GP, run in tricky dry, wet and half wet and dry conditions.
Gibernau finished the race just 0.089
seconds outside third place. Team-mate Loris Capirossi also suffered in the chaotic conditions, ending up in seventh position.
Following the start, briefly delayed after the first spots of rain fell, Gibernau stormed through from the fourth row to take second place on lap two and began eating into Shinya Nakano's lead. But after five laps the rain intensified, most riders entering the pits at the end of lap eight to swap to their spare bikes equipped with rain tyres.
This was the first time that anyone had changed bikes mid-race since flag-to-flag races were introduced at the start of 2005.
Gibernau led the next six laps but once the rain subsided and the track dried he began to struggle with rear traction and was unable to get on the gas as hard as he wanted, losing third place to Valentino Rossi with the chequered flag in sight. After the race it was alleged that Rossi had earlier made an illegal pass when he overtook another rider under yellow flags, but he was not penalised.
Capirossi's result did at least make him the first rider in GP history to complete 200 points scoring rides.
SETE GIBERNAU, finished 4th, 12th overall, 82 points
"We did everything right. I got a good start in the dry, I had a really good pace and I was going by them one by one. When we pitted to swap bikes I was second, then I was first, I was going to split from the pack in the rain but then the track started drying and my rain tyres weren't right for the conditions. If it had been completely wet or completely dry we would have had a good chance of a win today.
All credit to the guys in the team and to Bridgestone, they gave me tyres that worked great in the wet and the dry. Now I can't wait for Motegi where I hope it will be payback time."
LORIS CAPIROSSI, finished 7th, 5th overall, 180 points
"We agreed with Race Direction that if it rained on the warm-up lap we would stop on the grid, not in the pits. So that's what we did and they declared it a wet race. We started on slicks but if there was any bad luck today it fell upon us. I had the fastest rhythm in morning warm-up, so even though I started from the fifth row I was up into fifth by the second turn! If it had stayed dry I would have been able to attack. When the rain came and we swapped bikes I took a couple of laps to get a feel for the conditions and once again I was very fast. I was catching Valentino (Rossi) and I thought I could fight for a podium but then the track began to dry and I couldn't do any better. I did what I could but I hate races like that and I can't wait to get back on track and fight again at Motegi."
LIVIO SUPPO, Ducati MotoGP project manager
"It's a real pity because the worst conditions were the worst we could have had. Our tyres were excellent in the dry and excellent in the wet but the crucial stages of the race were played out on a drying track, so Sete couldn't defend his position during the final few laps and it wasn't easy for Loris either. It's a real shame for Sete to lose this podium but he did his best, he had no rear traction during the last laps. Races like this are always a bit of a lottery, that's for sure."