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Biaggi speaks out on second day in Sepang

Biaggi speaks out on second day in Sepang

Biaggi speaks out on second day in Sepang

With Max Biaggi returning to the factory he last rode with in 1998, a year which Biaggi himself describes as one of his best in the World Championships, is just part of the reason why MotoGP 2003 is shaping up to be the most exciting season ever. This time however, the `Roman Emperor´ - as he was dubbed after winning four consecutive 250cc World titles between 1994 and 1997 - will certainly want to go one better. Three times runner up in the premier class including 1998, the return to Honda is about Max being the top rider once again. A passionate racer, it is clear that he misses enormously the thrill of being champion. Despite all the smiles and pleasantries for the cameras, like any rider, Biaggi loves to be at the top, and only winning will do for the Italian this year.

Nevertheless as caught up with Biaggi at the Sepang test, he remains modest about his chances at this early stage. `I have obviously set my targets high this year, but I just want to concentrate on the present,´ he said. `I have come a long way to finally test the machine - because this is really my first proper taste of it, and I am using these three days to understand how it works and get myself comfortable with it. I haven´t done too many laps so far, we´e just trying to adjust it, to get it to suit me a little more. I hadn´t ridden in over two months before coming here, except when I was training, so to get back on a racing bike just takes a little time to shake out that unfamiliarity.´

It seems Biaggi is already into the swing of things with the RC211V, setting good times on both his first two days on his brand new pair of V5 championship winners. `By the end of the third day tomorrow, I think I´ll be in quite good shape to be honest. I feel good on this bike, but I want to discover more by riding the bike for longer, so I can see the strong points. So far though I feel quite good. I´m doing okay so far, to say I haven´t ridden for a while. I don´t want to say too much, but I´m sure I´m going to be okay, and this bike is a very good machine.

With his big Italian rivals Valentino Rossi and Loris Capirossi also testing this week in Sepang, the Roman may have been tempted to sneak a peek of the others in action, but he admits that he is keeping himself to himself for the time being. `I haven´t been around the track at the same time as any of the other riders, so I couldn´t see what they were doing. Others were trying, but I just stopped when they did – it´s perfectly normal for them to do it, but for me it´s not important to follow anybody. I need to be strong by myself first, and then we can perhaps have a look.´

In contrast to the rain which ended yesterday´s testing early for the riders, there was scorching sunshine throughout the day in Sepang today. Rossi ended the day as fastest out on the track after having been able to ride for a full day. All the riders posted better times than yesterday due to the improved conditions, and with Daijiro Kato behind Rossi, Loris Capirossi was third quickest, proving his time from yesterday was no fluke. Capirossi admitted that the Ducati is quick, but feels that the Honda´s traction gives it the edge at the moment.

Unofficial times: Valentino Rossi 2´03.5; Daijiro Kato 2´04.3; Loris Capirossi 2´04.4; Max Biaggi 2´04.5; Tohru Ukawa 2´04.9; Sete Gibernau 2´04.9;Shinichi Itoh 2´05.6; Troy Bayliss 2´06.0; Nicky Hayden 2´06.6; Makoto Tamada 2´07.0

MotoGP, 2003, Max Biaggi

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