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Sete Gibernau profile

By Dan Moakes
November 29 2005

Manuel “Sete” Gibernau Bultó
nationality · Spanish
born · 15 December 1972
grand prix début · 1992

Sete Gibernau is, in fact, the grandson of Francisco Xavier Bultó, who formed the famous Bultaco motorcycle concern. This wasn’t an automatic ticket into racing, and ultimate GP success has been a long time coming, despite some good opportunities. Up until 2003, Sete was not known for consistency, but was always capable of a flash of inspiration, particularly on a wet track. Equally, he has sometimes had the knack for throwing it away. The 2003-04 seasons saw him reach a new maturity, and this led to his genuine challenge to pace-setter Valentino Rossi. However, the pressure to succeed in 2005 meant that some mistakes crept back into the picture

1991
Having competed in trials, made his road racing début on 125cc production bikes

1992
2nd in Spanish 125cc Gilera Cup; World Championship 250cc début
Raced the number 64 Yamaha at the Spanish GP; no points scored

1993
5th in Spanish Ducados Open 250cc championship, on a Yamaha; 250cc World Championship
Raced the number 77 Yamaha for Marlboro Team Roberts at Járama; no points scored

1994
4th in Spanish Ducados Open 250cc championship, on a Yamaha; 250cc World Championship
Raced the number 45 Yamaha for Marlboro Team Roberts at Barcelona; no points scored

1995
3rd in Spanish Ducados Open 250cc championship, on a Yamaha; 250cc World Championship
Raced the number 94 Honda for Fortuna-Honda-Pons at Barcelona; no points scored

1996 Axo San Patrignano, number 16 Honda
In his first full 250cc Grand Prix season, Sete raced the Honda in the first twelve races, with best results of eleventh in Spain and Britain. For the last three races, he was drafted into the Marlboro Yamaha Rainey squad, replacing Tetsuya Harada on the Yamaha (retaining the number 16) and finishing eighth in Brazil. This gave him twenty points for the season, worth 21st place in the final table

1997 Yamaha Team Rainey, number 20 Yamaha
Gibernau’s reward for the last part of 1996 was a place in Rainey’s 500cc team, and he proved his worth with six top ten finishes. The best of these were seventh in Germany, eighth in Indonesia, and sixth in Australia. He finished up thirteenth in the championship, on 56 points

1998 Repsol Honda, number 15 Honda
For 1998, Sete was brought into the Honda works team to replace the unfortunate Takuma Aoki, paralysed in an accident during winter testing. This meant he would be riding the V-twin machine, as opposed to the V4 run for Mick Doohan, Àlex Crivillé and Tady Okada. Gibernau reached the podium for the first time, coming third at Járama, and was also fourth at Barcelona and sixth in Brno. Overall he was eleventh, with 72 points
Also finished second in the Suzuka 8 Hours, with Alex Barros

1999 Repsol Honda Team, number 15 Honda
Starting the year on the twin, with which he finished third in Spain, Sete inherited a full-on NSR V4 when Doohan’s career was ended in a crash at the third meeting of the season. By the end of the year, the Spaniard had finished in the top six on ten occasions, including further podiums at another three venues. His best result was second in South Africa. Fifth place represented his best season to date, on a total of 165 points

2000 Repsol YPF Honda Team, number 5 Honda
The 2000 season started well, with pole position in South Africa, but on the whole the works Repsol bikes were out-performed by the Pons and Nastro Azzurro teams’ examples. Indeed, although he finished in the top eight seven times, the best of these was just sixth place in the Czech Republic, and there was only one more appearance on the first two rows. This left Gibernau fifteenth overall, on 72 points, and both he and Okada were dropped from the team

2001 Telefónica MoviStar Suzuki, number 15 Suzuki
Hired to partner reigning champion Kenny Roberts, Sete discovered that the latest Suzuki wasn’t really podium material, with both Honda and Yamaha now having the advantage. Nevertheless, the Spaniard had a consistent record, finishing in the top ten on twelve separate occasions. However, his big moment came in the Valencia race when, on the right tyres in drying conditions, Gibernau held off the challenge of Barros and Roberts to win his first GP. At the end of the year he was ninth in the table, and had 119 points to the 97 of Roberts

2002 Telefónica MoviStar Suzuki, number 15 Suzuki
The 2002 season was rather more erratic for Sete, on the under-developed GSV-R four-stroke. In particular, he flew in wet conditions at Suzuka and Estoril, dominating the latter race, but on each occasion he went down. As a result, his best results were sixth at Donington and fourth in Brno, and he was down in sixteenth place for the year. His tally of 51 points was almost doubled by team-mate Roberts

2003 Telefónica MoviStar Honda, number 15 Honda
Taking his sponsors with him, Sete moved to the Gresini Honda squad for 2003, and the pace-setting RC211V bike. Sadly, team-mate Daijiro Kato was killed in the first race, but Gibernau really blossomed after taking over on the works-spec machine. With pole at Welkom, Sete had already won four times in ten races, and looked like the biggest threat to points leader Valentino Rossi, until the Italian put the issue beyond doubt. Sete was runner-up, with 277 points, ten podiums, one pole and a pair of fastest laps

Sete Gibernau 2004 - photo by www.SportsPics.co.za
photo by www.SportsPics.co.za

2004 Telefónica MoviStar Honda MotoGP, number 15 Honda
Sete led the Honda challenge in 2004, after Rossi’s move to Yamaha. Once again, the Spaniard proved the only consistent challenger against the impressive Italian, but Yamaha’s progress meant that Valentino’s talents were able to prosper, despite an obvious power deficit. Gibernau was second once again, with 257 points, ten podium results, five poles, and three fastest laps - and four more wins put him on a total of nine victories in the top class

2005 MoviStar Honda MotoGP, number 15 Honda
Yamaha and Rossi emerged stronger in their second year together and, despite an excellent record in qualifying, Sete was unable to add any further race victories. In fact, after a final corner collision between the pair in Spain’s season opener, the pressure seemed to get to Gibernau


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