Sete Gibernau stepped up to lead the Honda challenge against the factory's former star Valentino Rossi
in 2004, but soul-destroying close defeats such as Catalunya helped send the title in Rossi and Yamaha's direction.
Gibernau, born and raised just down the road in Barcelona, did all he could to win his third victory of the year in front of a record crowd of 102,301 at Catalunya, but was powerless to prevent a late charge from Rossi.
The Italian made the final pass of an enthralling duel with two laps to go, then squeezed out a slight advantage to take the flag 0.159sec in front of Gibernau's Gresini Honda.
"To win at Mugello [the previous weekend] and Catalunya is like a dream because we knew they would be two difficult tracks for us with the long straights and the extra top speed of the Honda," said Rossi, “but our bike is really good in the turns, which meant I could go with Sete today. The race probably wasn't as much fun as Mugello, it was definitely more intense, but the points are just as important.”
Behind them, Marco Melandri
clinched his first premier-class podium in a lonely third place after shaking off the attentions of Camel Honda's Max Biaggi in the first half of the race, then maintaining a comfortable advantage over Carlos Checa in the second.