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Biaggi admits Rossi respect

Biaggi admits Rossi respect

Biaggi admits Rossi respect

Max Biaggi has admitted his respect for long-term rival Valentino Rossi after conceding defeat in a sensational race between the feuding pair which simpley blew away the rest of the MotoGP field. Biaggi and Rossi rubbed fairings for 28 laps of the Welkom circuit at speeds up to 280km/h, but both riders were an example of fair and safe racing as they swapped positions at the fastest point of the track, in the fast right-hander coming off the back straight. Biaggi today admitted that, after such an intensely spectacular race, rivalries are forgotten and respect is due.

`I was pleased to see that when Valentino took off his helmet he was sweating as much as me,´ said Biaggi. `It sure was no walkover for either of us. Congratulations to him because he made a great race. I think than the mutual respect above all after such a race is indubitable.´

The Africa's Grand Prix was enjoyed by a record TV audience in Italy of twelve million viewers - a statistic which is hardly surprising considering the spectacle provided by two of the nation's favourite sons and the historic gravity of Rossi's unprecedented achievement. However, nobody could have enjoyed it more than the riders themselves and Biaggi admits that he celebrated his second place as if it was a victory.

`I was taken by Nicky Hayden to the airport on Sunday evening, otherwise I might not have made it to the plane!´ laughed Biaggi from his home in Monaco. `When the race was over I spent a bit too long with my technicians - they'd done such a fantastic job it was only right and it was a pleasure to share such a great moment with them.´

`On the plane, I must say I didn't sleep much - after a race like that the adrenalin keeps pumping round and takes a while to calm down. But it was great, we had fun and I think the spectators enjoyed it too.´

Biaggi had every right to be pleased – not only with the way he pushed the World Champion to the line but also with the authority he demonstrated over the five fellow factory Honda riders vying with him for preferential treatment from HRC. Biaggi knows he is in prime position to mount a consistent challenge for Rossi's title and admits that he can't wait to get going at the next round at Jerez.

`I enjoyed the race so much that I'm not even tired. I could start again right now and give 110%. We set up the new material we received from Honda in just four hours and, more importantly, we understood. I have to underline the great job made by my team. It was the best way to remember Antonio Cobas.´

`I couldn't be more motivated or with a greater wish to do well, partly because I've never started a World Championship in such a positive manner. There are no tests coming up before Jerez but seeing how fast we fixed the bike for Welkom, I hope the same will be true for Spain, because the references we gathered during the tests at the end of March certainly won't be applicable to the conditions we'll be finding on May 2nd.´

MotoGP, 2004, Valentino Rossi, Max Biaggi

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