THURSDAY 21ST JULY 2005
Valentino Rossi has revealed that he has been surprised by the relatively poor form shown by double MotoGP runner-up Sete Gibernau so far this season, in which the Catalan has suffered two DNFs - dropping the Movistar Honda rider to fourth in the championships standings after 8 of 17 rounds.
"Yes," replied Rossi, when asked if the Catalan's poor form was a surprise. "Last year, and two years ago, he was very strong, This year, one week he is okay - he is one of the fastest - but he is not consistent.
"Last year he wanted to win, for sure, but also second place was okay. This year, maybe he started the year saying 'I want to win or nothing'... and nothing!" added Rossi with a slight smile, explaining that he thought Gibernau may have been putting too much pressure on himself.
The Italian then confirmed that the events of Qatar last season, when Rossi blamed Gibernau for a grid cleaning protest that sent the #46 to the back of the grid, had soured their previously amicable relationship.
"For sure it changed the relationship with Gibernau a lot because before we didn't have a problem, but in that race for me it was dirty what happened," said Vale. "It had never happened before in our sport. It had happened in some other sports, but not in motorcycle racing.
"After (Qatar), whenever I see Gibernau I want to arrive in front of him," concluded the six-times world champion, who famously clashed with Sete at the final turn of the season opening Spanish Grand Prix (top pic).
Gibernau crash, Portuguese MotoGP Race 2005