Jun 3, 2001
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The complete text of a Suzuki press release on the Grand Prix at Mugello follows:<BR><BR><BR>"GIBERNAU CLAIMS BEST FINISH IN GRUELLING RACE<BR><BR>"Round Five, World Grand Prix, Race Result, Italian GP, Mugello, Sunday, June 3.<BR><BR>"Team Telefonica MoviStar Suzuki rider Sete Gibernau claimed a season's best sixth place in today's weather-stricken Italian GP, one of only 12 riders who overcame frightful conditions in drenching rain in a race stopped once because of the weather, and restarted in even worse conditions.<BR><BR>"Team-mate Kenny Roberts Jr did not finish. The defending champion was one of many victims of the flooded track, left unsighted in the spray, and crashing out of third place with just three of the 23 laps remaining. Roberts had led both legs of the race at some point, and escaped unhurt from the crash.<BR><BR>"Others to fall out of an extraordinary race included points leader Valentino Rossi, who fell on the sighting lap, and again on the last lap of the race.<BR><BR>"The bad weather began during the first race of the day, for the 125cc class, which was stopped and restarted. Proceedings were delayed by two hours by the time the 500s got to the grid for the main event of the day. The first start was dry, but after eight laps the rain began again, and the race was stopped and restarted, with further delays.<BR><BR>"At this point, early leader Roberts was lying a close sixth in the leading group, and Gibernau was tenth.<BR><BR>"After the restart Roberts led again, and was with the leading group when - unsighted in the clouds of spray - he crashed under braking for the first turn. He was not injured, but angry about his first non-finish of the five-race-old season.<BR><BR>"Gibernau started cautiously in the second leg, never having ridden the Suzuki in the rain. Once he felt comfortable, he picked up the pace, and picked up one place after another. At the finish, however, his visor covered with spray inside and out, he had to slow again, unable to see clearly enough to maintain his speed. By then he had moved through to a safe sixth place, which he kept to the finish.<BR><BR>"SETE GIBERNAU - Sixth Position<BR><BR>"'That was the first time in the rain on this bike for me, and I really didn't know what to expect. I was really cautious on the first laps after the restart, but after a time I found my pace, and I started catching up. By then I had taken a lot of water in my helmet, and for the last five laps I could barely see where I was going - my visor was completely misted up. I had to slow, but I think it was quite good just to finish this race.'<BR><BR>"KENNY ROBERTS - Did Not Finish<BR><BR>"'When Abe came by me, I had a problem with my visor fogging, and it was very difficult to see anything. I was trying to be cautious, then at the end I found I was getting closer and I started pushing. I started to catch Barros. I couldn't see much on the front straight, and basically I made a mistake at the end of the straightaway. At least I was racing for victory instead of sixth place! Before the race Michelin suggested we use a 16.5-inch tyre because it was better in the wet, and now I believe they were right.'<BR><BR> <BR><BR>"GARRY TAYLOR - Team Manager<BR><BR>"'Sete rode a great race, with very much impaired vision. It's great for him and his crew to get a good result finally. Kenny was also struggling to see where he was going. The important thing is he walked away from it without any injuries.'<BR>