Thursday, November 09, 2006

MotoGP: Sete Gibernau Announces Retirement

Catalan star Sete Gibernau has announced that he is retiring from World Championship motorcycle racing.
He had struggled with injuries and terrible luck this year, with his collarbone being badly damaged in his spectacular crash at the Catalan GP, and never really healing. It was damaged again when he was taken out by Casey Stoner in Portugal. Although some people said he was past his best, remember that he would have been 1st or 2nd at the first race of the season, if it wasn't for a mechanical failure, and he was running well in front of his team-mate Capirossi when he hit Stoner's carelessly discarded bike at Estoril.
It must be hard for Sete to see Nicky Hayden win the championship with just 2 wins. Although the American won fair and square, he needed a year of atrocious luck for Valentino Rossi. Sete, on the other hand, genuinely pushed Rossi all the way in 2003 and 2004, winning 4 races in each of those years and scoring many podiums. Without the phenomenon that is Valentino Rossi, Sete would have been a double world champion.
The records show that Gibernau was the 2nd best rider of the 990cc era with 8 wins (he also achieved one victory on a 500GP machine). However, The Doctor won an incredible 45 races in the 990cc MotoGP years. There is no disgrace in losing to the best of all time, especially when you have such legendary battles and force him to produce his very best.
Superstitious people might argue that Rossi's notorious "gypsy curse" is what really ended Sete's career. After Qatar in 2004, when Rossi was penalized for his team doing scooter burnouts on his grid spot to increase the track's grip, The Doctor blamed his opponent, and proclaimed that Gibernau would never win another race. [Does Rossi have magical powers in addition to his racing skills? I wouldn't rule it out!]
The Catalan can hold his head high. His record of 9 victories, 13 pole positions and 8 fastest laps is unmatched by anybody else in the Rossi era, apart from Rossi himself.
Farewell, Sete.


Anonymous said...

my compliments jimmy. I couldn't imagine a better summary of Sete's story. Unfortunately a lot of people do not realize that he could have won two world championships if he had had just a bit of luck, not even a fraction of what Hayden has had this past season.

Jimmy said...

Yes, Sete's 2003 and 2004 seasons were far better than Nicky's championship year, but that's just the way it goes.