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Mugello festivities kick off with victory for Riders for Health

Mugello festivities kick off with victory for Riders for Health

Mugello festivities kick off with victory for Riders for Health

Preparations for the Gran Premio Cinzano d´Italia were temporarily put on hold at the Mugello circuit this afternoon, where riders and staff took time out for a charity football tournament initiated by World Cup referee Pierluigi Collina. The five-a-side competition, which was organised by Team Pramac and was held in benefit of Riders for Health, featured teams of riders, journalists, an international TV select and a special team made up of the highest bidders at a recent internet auction held by the charity. The riders team, which included local heroes Max Biaggi, Roberto Rolfo and Roberto Locatelli, emerged victorious in a penalty shoot-out against the TV select, with captain Biaggi scoring the decisive spot-kick. Pramac donated €60 to Riders for Health for each of the 27 goals scored during the tournament.

`It is nice to relax ahead of such a big weekend and it is always a pleasure to help Riders for Health,´ said Biaggi. `The riders are always competitive and we like to win – hopefully that can be the case for me on Sunday! It will be a tough weekend but I am very happy with the work of my team so far this season and I am optimistic of another good result. At least the weather seems to have improved!´

In contrast to conditions at Le Mans two weeks ago, temperatures soared past the 30º mark at the Tuscan circuit this afternoon, bathing the rolling green hills which surround this picturesque track with a golden glow which the riders hope will last all weekend. Biaggi arrives at his home race with a 23 point deficit to championship leader Valentino Rossi and just a four point advantage over Spaniard Sete Gibernau after finishing fifth at Le Mans – the first time he has failed to make the podium this season. Both Rossi and Gibernau are flying high on confidence having taken two wins each from the first four races, but the World Champion admitted the pressure was on the Italians this weekend.

`It´s great to race at home but of course it does bring its problems,´ said Rossi, who took his first premier-class victory at this circuit one year ago. `I always love racing in front of my home fans but there is a lot of pressure from the media and all the extra attention. Still, that is the way things are and I will just concentrate on doing my best to win the race.´

MotoGP, 2003, Gran Premio Cinzano d'Italia

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