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Open letter from FIM President Francesco Zerbi to Valentino Rossi and Max Biaggi

Open letter from FIM President Francesco Zerbi to Valentino Rossi and Max Biaggi

It will perhaps seem strange that a President is writing to two riders to reproach them because of certain behaviour that the Race Direction and theStewards who were present at the scene, did not judge liable for sanction. In my opinion, it should not be considered strange, but on the contrary,justified.

You are without doubt among the best known riders who give the greatest image to the sport, and for this reason you have not only the responsibilityof your own image, but also that of motorcycling in particular and sport ingeneral.

Rules can be subject to different interpretations and applications accordingto the points of view of the persons who must apply them; however the impact of the actions of the persons who, like you, are subject to the scrupulous attention of millions of spectators are not unimportant and cannot passwithout comment from me in my capacity as the person responsible for therunning of our sport.

It is not my role to establish if what happened during the event could havebeen sanctioned as a sporting offence and what measures could or should have been taken: in this connection, it was the Race Direction at the scene,formed by the four bodies who monitor the races: representatives of the FIM,Dorna, teams and riders. I think that after having verified the events andthe (rightly called negative) reactions which materialised in negative judgements in your regard and in the regard of our sport, it is my duty tointervene.

My intervention is two-fold: the first is a reproach to you both, in order to invite you to more attentively and correctly control your actions andreactions, without taking anything away from your fighting instinct and yourdesire for victory, your skill, your courage and the sporting qualities that a true champion shows to all the world. A real champion must be recognisedby his behaviour during the competitions but also by his behaviour in his daily life, by his acts and by the words he uses in his contacts with othersaround him, including journalists.

The second, much simpler but more direct, aims to avoid repeating situationsin the future where the persons who must intervene do not know the manner in which to do so.

For this reason, the Grand Prix Permanent Bureau will request the Race Direction to intervene with the appropriate sanctions according to the gravity of the actions and/or reactions that could happen during an event,or in the area of an event, and which could manifest itself not only as a sporting offence already provided for in the rules, but also more generallyas ´anti-sporting or censurable behaviour´. I realise that this definition is generic, even if it is precise, but it is not possible to establish alist of cases and actions that would define this behaviour.

We will watch to see that the persons charged with applying the sanctions are, as far as is humanly possible, the most attentive, moderate andconscious of their very important role.

Mistakes can be made, but it is important to do all that is possible to avoid them being made and to avoid them being repeated, and that the personswho make these errors are punished appropriately.

Knowing you, I am sure that you understand the spirit of this letter and thesentiments that inspired it. I hope to see you soon on the circuits, where Iam sure that you will again demonstrate your great technical, sporting andhuman potential, which makes great champions of you both.

500cc, 2001, Valentino Rossi

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