Rossi and Gibernau End Conflict
Following the championship fight between the two riders in 2004, they decided not to speak to each other ever since. What triggered the conflict was a protest of Gibernau and his team Gresini Honda to Rossi over grid position cleaning in the 2006 Qatar GP. The Italian rider was then demoted to the back of the grid and later crashed out of the race. Just to get back at the Spanish rider – which he later beat for the world title – Rossi promised Gibernau will never win a race again. So far, so true!
At the end of 2006, the Spaniard decided to end his racing career in the MotoGP and it seemed that would be it for the relationship between them. However, with Gibernau returning to the series as official rider of newcomers Francisco Hernando Ducati, the two will get to see more of each other within the MotoGP paddock.
“I enjoyed the races that I won and also the races where Valentino beat me, because he's still winning and everyone says he is maybe the best rider ever, and I've been able to fight with him and that's a big honor for me,” said Gibernau to the media, ahead of the MotoGP opener.
“I hope I can enjoy time on the racetrack and outside the racetrack with Valentino. We've enjoyed time in the past then things happened and we didn't enjoy so much. But at the end of the day the reason I've come back is to keep feeling happy. I'm happy to be here, I'm proud to be here with all these guys and I just want to try and enjoy it,” added the Spanish rider.
Rossi also insisted the past is water under the bridge and even admitted he and Gibernau could grow to be friends in the future. “Yes, I think it's possible,” said the Italian rider.