Gibernau and Rossi willing to end feud

Sete Gibernau and Valentino Rossi agreed to put their bitter feud behind them as the Spaniard began his return to MotoGP in Qatar

Gibernau and Rossi willing to end feud

The two riders fell out in 2004 and have not spoken since, but appeared alongside each other in the pre-event press conference at Losail today and shook hands in front of the gathered media.

Two seasons after announcing his retirement from MotoGP, Gibernau is making a comeback this season with the new Francisco Hernando Ducati team. He said he was taking a new approach to his second attempt at MotoGP and now regarded racing Rossi as an 'honour'.

"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 honour for me," said Gibernau.

"I don't know if I'll be able to fight with Valentino or the other guys again because I've been stopped for two years but basically I've come back to enjoy it again.

"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."

Rossi said he was also open to improving their relationship. When asked if he could envisage being 'friends' with Gibernau again, he replied: "Yes, I think it's possible."

The pair's enmity originated from the 2004 Qatar race, when Rossi was sent to the back of the grid following a protest from Gibernau and his Gresini Honda team over grid position cleaning. Rossi crashed out of the grand prix, but recovered to beat Gibernau to the title, and famously declared that his rival would never win another race - a prediction that has proved true so far.

Gibernau insisted that he had no expectations for his return to MotoGP and just wanted to enjoy being part of the championship again.

"I'm happy and proud to be here," he said. "I want to thank everyone, including all the riders, because they've all received me in a very nice way and my effort is paying off. I just want to enjoy every part of it.

"My best years of my life have been in MotoGP, inside of racing and outside of racing. I'm very proud of what I did in the past. I think I had very great races with Valentino.

"I don't know if I can fight with (Andrea) Dovi(zioso), or Casey (Stoner), or Chris (Vermeulen). To be here, sitting down with them, is already great. I thought I would never do this again so I'm happy to be here and if I'm not (racing) with those guys I'll still try to do my best."

But Rossi does not believe Gibernau will be satisfied if he is off the pace.

"Sete was already very fast at Jerez," said the champion. "Now he's trying to be calm and quiet, but he's here to try to win and to finish on the podium like all the other guys."

Gibernau said his only target for this weekend's Losail race was to reach the finish as he continued to recover from shoulder surgery over the winter.

"It's better," he said. "In Jerez I could do five or six laps and then in the last left-hand corner I couldn't push too hard. Luckily enough, here there is more right braking than in Jerez. I'll just try to do the whole race and that will be perfect."

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