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PICS: Gibernau returns with Onde 2000.

As rumoured, former double MotoGP World Championship runner-up Sete Gibernau will end his two-year retirement and return to premier-class action next season.

It was officially announced at Valencia on Thursday evening that the Spaniard will ride a fifth Ducati Desmosedici GP9 for the new Francisco Hernando Onde 2000 squad, run by '12+1' world champion Angel Nieto's sons Pablo and Gelete.

"I'm excited about what it means to be a MotoGP rider," said Gibernau. "I've come back to enjoy it again and it's a good opportunity for me. That's my main goal; to enjoy riding. I'm still open to learning again, even at 35... I'm going to have to work very hard and I'm ready for that."

Gibernau's Desmosedici will be dressed in white, black and gold colours next year, although his racing number remains unknown. Sete's traditional #15 was taken by Alex de Angelis this season and the bike present at the launch had a question mark in place of a racing number.

Gibernau was Honda's leading rider - and Valentino Rossi's closest title rival - during the 2003 and 2004 seasons, but the pressure of fighting the dominant Italian seemed to take its toll and Sete was left winless in 2005, despite five pole positions.

The Spaniard then moved to the factory Ducati team for the 2006 season, when bad luck and injuries prevented a podium finish. Sete lost his seat to future world champion Casey Stoner for 2007.

After a year away from the racetrack, Gibernau burst back onto the MotoGP scene when his presence as a spectator at June's Catalan Grand Prix resulted in an invitation from Ducati to test an early version of next year's GP9.

Gibernau - a former Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda and Ducati grand prix rider - set a best time of 1min 51.7sec on the radical carbon-fibre framed machine at Mugello, effectively equally the fastest lap by Alice's Toni Elias and Sylvain Guintoli during the Italian Grand Prix

During his second test Gibernau also got the chance to try this year's GP8 - with which he dropped his best lap time down to a 1min 50.5sec, 0.6sec faster than Marco Melandri and 0.5sec behind Stoner's best Mugello race lap.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Gibernau Ducati Onde presentation, Valencia MotoGP 2008
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Dall`Igna, German MotoGP 2017
Ducati team, German MotoGP 2017
Gibernau, Pedrosa Dutch MotoGP 2017
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Lorenzo, Gibernau,  Catalunya MotoGP 2017
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Pedrosa, Catalunya MotoGP 2017
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Petrucci crying, Domenicali, Dovizioso, Italian MotoGP Race 2017
Dovizioso, Petrucci, Vinales, Rossi Italian MotoGP 2017
Pedrosa, Gibernau in the Red Bull KTM hospitality, Italian MotoGP 2017
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Nicky Hayden tribute, Italian MotoGP 2017
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Pedrosa, Gibernau French MotoGP Race 2017

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