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Pons criticises Biaggi penalty

Pons criticises Biaggi penalty

Pons criticises Biaggi penalty

Camel Honda team boss Sito Pons criticised officials for the decision to put Max Biaggi to the back of the grid in Saturday's Marlboro Grand Prix of Qatar, after his team were found guilty of cleaning and brushing the Italian's grid position. Biaggi went on to produce his best performance of recent weeks, battling through the pack to eventually take sixth place despite an off-track excursion on the last lap.

"Max started this race from the back of the grid for a penalty which I feel was too severe," said Pons. "The team has done what you do to a new track and where the presence of sand was more than evident.

"To clean the position where the rider is starting from is a process which is simply for the safety of the rider at the start, a preventative measure which the organisation should have dealt with especially in the area of the starting grid. I repeat, our intervention was only trying to guarantee the safety of the rider on the track.

"Penalised with his grid position, Max fought back hard during the race and came up close to the front runners. It's a shame about that off-track excursion on the last lap which lost him a place."

Biaggi preferred to avoid controversy and was in upbeat mood as he reflected on a positive overall result. "I started in last place, because of the penalty put upon my team. What can I say about that. It was the result of a complaint made by our rivals. Whatever, for the third race in a row things were tough from the start.

"However I wasn't disheartened, not even when I got an awful start, with the rear tyre slipping on the sand, which was present in industrial proportions down there at the back. Rossi meanwhile was in the middle line of the straight, the cleanest bit, and he got a great start.

"I tried not to lose my desire and I got down to business. It was tough, very tough, because the area we had to work in was tight. But I wanted to get as far up the order as possible. On the last lap I got on Barros' tail to try and snatch fourth place, but my front let me down, and the steering folded and I went straight on.

"Hayden also profited from it, but I don't regret having tried it. All that's happened over the last three races has been practically unbelievable."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2004, MARLBORO GRAND PRIX OF QATAR, Max Biaggi

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