Despite suffering a confidence shaking fall in final qualifying, Sete Gibernau set off like a man possessed at the start of yesterday's Rio Grand Prix - snatching the lead with a brave move at turn two before heading the field for the next nine laps.

At that point he was finally overtaken by Valentino Rossi, and although the Catalan was unable to match the Italian's record breaking pace - he held firm for a confident second, increasing his lead over Biaggi for second in the championship, something which is now the Telefonica team's main objective.

"Taking into account that this weekend was not at all easy, I am very satisfied with the result," said Sete. "We had a few problems with the bike (on Friday) and I crashed when I was trying to set a fast lap, so I think second place is the most we could have hoped for.

"I would like to give a big thanks to the team and to Honda because we tried a few things with the settings this morning that helped us to go a bit faster," he revealed. "I would also like to thank Dr. Costa and his team for helping me recover physically, because I felt pretty bad last night. On this occasion I wasn't able to fight with Valentino, but the important thing is we were very competitive once again and we have extended our advantage over Max in the championship."

Gibernau is now 51 point's behind Rossi with just 100 up for grabs in the remaining four rounds, he is also a comfortable 37 points ahead of Biaggi.

"I was a little worried about how Sete would be after his crash yesterday, but he was in great form and he had a good race," said team manger Fausto Gresini. "In the warm-up the team made a few changes which have improved the performance of the bike. This second place strengthens our objective of taking second place in the championship although of course we will be working hard to win more races."



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