1 January 1901
PICTURES: Stoner fall leaves Gibernau injured.
Sete Gibernau sustained a broken bone in his right hand, and further damage to his recently re-plated collarbone, after being the innocent victim of Casey Stoner's early exit from Sunday's Portuguese Grand Prix.
The Ducati Marlboro rider had graduated one position to seventh after Shinya Nakano's first lap fall, but less than a minute later he too was bouncing down the asphalt after fifth placed Stoner lost control of his Honda just in front of him.
"I don't know if I lost the rear in the middle of the corner," said Stoner. "It seemed to slip a bit and as it came back it flicked out on me. All I remember is another bike hitting me pretty hard. I think Sete's bike smashed into the lower part of my right leg, but nothing's broken."
With nowhere to go, Gibernau had been forced up and over Stoner's sideways RCV before falling heavily on the other side. The Spaniard was immediately taken to the Clinica Mobile for treatment.
"I passed a few guys on the first lap, then Stoner crashed just in front of me and I couldn't miss his bike," confirmed Sete. "The fifth metacarpal in my right hand is broken and it seems I may have bent one of the plates that's screwed to the collarbone. But I'm lucky it's not more serious, it could have been worse. Anyway, we need to think positive and keep working. This has been an unlucky day but I am sure things will come right for us eventually."
Meanwhile, team-mate Loris Capirossi kept his factor Ducati on two-wheels for the full race distance - but an uncompetitive weekend ended with a twelfth placed finish, signalling the end of his slim title hopes.
"It's been a difficult weekend. We never found a good solution for our tyres here, they just didn't work on the new tarmac. Bridgestone brought some different tyres overnight which we tried in warm-up and although we had some problems we decided to use this tyre for the race. But I started losing grip after a few laps, I had to fight to make the finish," said Loris. "This season we have had some great moments with Bridgestone but this is the worst, so we have to think carefully about how to avoid these situations in the future. If we want to win, we need to go fast at every track."
"A terrible day for us," admitted Ducati MotoGP project manager Livio Suppo. "It was dreadful luck for Sete and for Loris also, because he doesn't deserve to finish 12th. We must keep looking forward and work as hard as ever. When things go our way we can be unbeatable, but we must avoid having bad days like today, that is our main goal at the moment."
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