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Max Biaggi: "No more excuses"

Max Biaggi: 'No more excuses'

Max Biaggi: "No more excuses"

Max Biaggi has spoken out just two days ahead of the next set of preseason tests with HRC in Malaysia, saying that there will be no more excuses from him as he looks to use full factory support to finally wrestle the title from Valentino Rossi.

In this exclusive interview with, the Italian spoke frankly about his hopes for the new season, discussing development of the 2005 version Honda RC211V, his relationship with the new-look Repsol Honda team and his main rivals in his quest for glory. How is your ankle recovering ahead of this next set of tests? Will you be leaving the crutches at home and will you be wearing the special boots again?

Max Biaggi: The foot has really progressed. It's not swollen anymore and I can wear normal boots. I've spent the last few days training on a bicycle because I'm a long way from being able to run again, but I've been able to leave the crutches behind. I don't think I'll ever leave the special boots behind though. As well as supporting my ankle they are also good extra protection from injuries. They've got a carbon-fibre protector on the inside which is really light but really strong and if I was wearing it when I crashed I probably wouldn't have broken anything. At least my accident should help prevent a lot of other riders from breaking their ankles because Dainese are looking into putting the boot they made for me into production. One day somebody might say "Thank goodness Biaggi broke his ankle!" Or maybe somebody already said that without knowing anything about the boot...

Q: You must be feeling much more optimistic preparing for this test than you were about the last one...

MB: Definitely. Last time I wasn't even sure if I'd manage a single lap. It was a really anxious time which I wouldn't wish on anybody.

Q: HRC recently confirmed that you would be their ‘main focus' this season. Is this your big chance to win the MotoGP World Championship you have craved over the past few years?

M.B. In Italian we call it ‘cavallo di punta', which means ‘main horse', so I'm eating hay every morning for breakfast! Joking aside, being part of HRC is fantastic for me and, above all, a big motivation. Anybody who goes out on the track wants to be an official Honda rider, and I mean anybody from the fans to professional riders. If someone says they want to be with a different factory it's because they are contracted to say so… either that or they are a bit crazy! This is an important role for me because it will allow me to get involved in the development of the bike. My main objective is to create a machine which allows me to get the most out of my potential and right now that can only be done at Honda. I really want to enjoy myself riding. I want to finish a race and say "Okay, I can't go any better than that."

Q: You will have the 2005 version RC211V for the first time at this next test. How are you approaching such a vital stage of the preseason?

MB: It will be an intense job, we already realised that. We have to construct a winning bike and that's not an easy task because 2004 was a lost year and the others have done a good job. But I like this team a lot and to have linked up again with a great professional like Erv Kanemoto is fantastic. We have a special relationship and I feel a unique bond with Erv. Apart from that we've got a new team, with young, talented and highly motivated people starting with the chief mechanic Iwano. The track usually closes at six and we stay working until ten at night or later.

Q: A few critical voices have suggested that you won't be able to beat Rossi this season, even with full support from HRC. How does that affect you when you still haven't even tested the 2005 bike?

MB: I have heard on my travels that there is a lot of curiosity about me and my new bike, both from journalists and other riders. I appreciate it – it's nice to know other people are thinking about you (laughs)! Some people will be ready to make judgements about the success of the next test, as if you can build a winning bike in two weeks, but I've had enough. I want to say something that I've never said before: you won't hear any more excuses from me. I'm fed up with this stereotype which has been pinned on me. I know perfectly well that there are certain people out there waiting for me to start blaming some technical problem or other. I know journalists and all they ask me about is chattering. Well this year I'm looking forward to disappointing them. The only chattering will be with their pens or microphones. If I do have any technical problems I'll just discuss them with my team, who have my complete confidence.

Q: Valentino Rossi has suggested that 2005 will be a battle between himself, Max Biaggi and Sete Gibernau, with Ducati also likely to be up there. Would you agree with that? What's your view on the way the grid is shaping up so far?

MB: Rossi's right. You can write that: ‘Biaggi says that Rossi is right.' Do you like that? As far as the grid is concerned, some people have said it's a shame there'll be less of us but as far as I can see all the best riders are there. We won't ever see a MotoGP event with as many riders as you see in the US Supercross, for example.

Q: How are you getting on with your new team and what do you think of your new team-mate Nicky Hayden?

MB: I'm really happy. There is the right atmosphere at HRC – the staff are all new so they're keen to do well. They are working hard because there is a lot of work to do. We're all trying to learn about each other and we're at the start of a long journey. Erv doesn't need any introductions – he's a definite asset. Nicky, in his own words, is cool. In Italian we'd say he's a ‘figo', a nice guy and really relaxed.

MotoGP, 2005, Max Biaggi

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