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Gibernau Czechs rivals with Brno victory.

By the end of lap two both Biaggi and Rossi had moved past Barros, but Gibernau had already pulled a one-second lead on the chasing pack and it would take until lap 7 of 22 for the four-man group (Rossi, Biaggi, Barros and Hayden) to claw their way back to the Catalan's rear wheel.

However, the five would remain nose-to-tail and in exactly the same order until Barros burst past Biaggi for third on lap 12 – then briefly squeezed past Rossi for second just a lap later, before the Italian regrouped and retook the position.

But Barros' charge would come to an end three laps later when the 33-year-old slid into retirement after the rear wheel of his orange RC211V washed out midway through one of the many high speed left/right flicks that characterise the Czech circuit.

Biaggi and Hayden were thus promoted to third and fourth respectively – with 1,4secs covering the top four – and with five laps to go the race really came alive as Rossi finally launched his long awaited attack on Gibernau.

The #46 pulled alongside Sete on the entry to a left hander, but was thwarted when the #15 held his nerve and let the inside line come to him at the following turn. Rossi wasn't to be beaten easily though and outbraked Gibernau down the inside at the end of the next straight, which leads to a double apex right hander...

In a move few predicted, Gibernau responded by cutting across behind Rossi's rear wheel as he entered the first part of the corner, then held an 'impossibly' tight line and gassed his RCV for all it was worth to beat the Italian to the second apex – leaving a long black line of burning rubber in his wake.

The brave move worked and, apparently inspired by Rossi's provocation, Gibernau then put several metres of Czech asphalt between himself and the five-times world champion.

The fight for the lead may have effectively ended, but more action was to follow as separate incidents at turn one of lap 19 saw the remaining podium positions decided.

First Biaggi tried a desperately late outbraking manoeuvre on Rossi, that initially worked but caused the Camel Honda rider to drift wide and hand the position back, then Hayden lost his front wheel on turn-in a few seconds later and bounced into the Brno gravel – completing a double Repsol Honda DNF.

And so the lead group was reduce to three, with 3 laps to go, and ultimately that was the order in which the race would finish: A clearly delighted Gibernau - who had turned down the chance to race with the new Honda exhaust in favour of his tried and tested 'standard' spec bike - extended his advantage steadily all the way to the chequered flag, Rossi crossing the line 3.5secs behind and Biaggi a further 0.8secs adrift.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Gibernau 1st, Rossi 2nd and Biaggi 3rd, Czech MotoGP, 2004
Gibernau Leads Rossi, Biaggi, Barros and Hayden, Czech MotoGP Race, 2004
Gibernau leads 1st lap, Czech MotoGP, 2004,
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