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Max Biaggi aiming for top step on Mugello podium

Max Biaggi aiming for top step on Mugello podium

Max Biaggi aiming for top step on Mugello podium

After three podium finishes from the first three races, Max Biaggi goes into his home race at Mugello this weekend knowing that this is perhaps his best chance yet to take his first premier-class victory at a circuit where he won on three consecutive occasions in the 250cc class.

Biaggi stood on the podium here one season ago alongside Valentino Rossi and Loris Capirossi but, with his two compatriots struggling for form in recent weeks, ‘The Roman Emperor' says he would like nothing better than to celebrate on the top step on Sunday.

"Of course Mugello is very special to me," says Biaggi. "First of all I love the track. Even if it was not my home Grand Prix I would love it, the layout is one of the best on the calendar…the long fast main straight, corners such as ‘Bucine,' the section from which leads from ‘Casanova Savelli,' to the two ‘Arrabiatta' are poetry for the riders. And I also like the downhill sections so much - they give you a real thrill when you ride.

"Last but not least there are the fans - they really make you feel supported, they push you to give your best. With four Italian riders in MotoGP, with Ducati in search of revenge and all the other riders keen to show they can also run at the front, I would predict a new record number of spectators at the track."

Biaggi has had a hectic time ahead of his home race, playing in a charity football match and attending the recent F1 race in his home town of Monaco as a guest of his close friend Jarno Trulli.

"It's ten years already that I've been playing in the F1 soccer team for Solidarity. The idea appealed to me immediately because of its total transparency and immediacy, given that it wasn't the normal way of doing things.

"It was more of an impersonal way to do something for good causes, but it required a direct and long-term involvement, and the results were there to see. They were tangible and concrete, and at the end of every evening you knew that a certain amount would be passed on to various charities.

"Also it involved my second greatest passion after motorcycles - soccer. We had a match on the Tuesday before Monaco F1 GP and it was a good way to relieve the tension of the Le Mans race.

"On Saturday I went to visit the F1 paddock and was happy watching Jarno getting his first pole from his pit garage. He made a perfect lap on Saturday and a perfect race on Sunday. In the paddock I met an idol of mine, Emerson, who plays for AS Roma, my favourite soccer team."

Biaggi refuses to be drawn into pre-race predictions but following a successful post race test at Le Mans the Italian is in buoyant mood about his own chances. "I prefer to approach this race as any other race," he says. "I feel in good shape, the bike is performing very well indeed so far, even with a few problems at Le Mans we got on the podium.

"I'm second in the championship but it's only the fourth race - it's not time to be making strategies. We did some good set up tests at Le Mans and we'll see if they also prove useful for Mugello. In any case, things haven't been so bad so far, have they?"


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