Few can forget the 2000-2001 rivalry between Italians Max Biaggi and Valentino Rossi. The two really hated each other. To most, it reminded them of that of Wayne Raney's and Kevin Schwantz's, fierce on and off the track. However, the rivalry...
Few can forget the 2000-2001 rivalry between Italians Max Biaggi and Valentino Rossi. The two really hated each other. To most, it reminded them of that of Wayne Raney's and Kevin Schwantz's, fierce on and off the track.
However, the rivalry began to fade on the eve of the four-stroke era and perhaps last year marked the beginning of its end. In South Africa, both Italians gave it all they had. It was like a heavy-weight fight fought as if they were light-weights. Their pace was so electrifying; Biaggi broke the lap record on the final lap, on wasted tires. But in racing someone must win, and though Rossi may have come away victorious, Biaggi's efforts could not have not unnoticed. On the cool-off lap Rossi and Biaggi shook hands, something the two had never really done before. A new-found level of respect for each other radiated during the post-race press conference.
Today, MotoGP.com had an interview with Biaggi, who visited the AMA Supercross season opener in Southern California last weekend, and what follows may surprise many.
"A few days ago a journalist from the Italian newspaper La Stampa called me and asked me about 'The Athlete of the Year'. As every December they want to elect the sportsman of the year and I am part of the jury as the other athletes of the year elected me in the past. Well, I said to myself, what is the most beautiful sport on earth? No doubt, MotoGP. Who rode the best season? No doubt, Valentino Rossi. So, let's vote for him! And don't say that I'm not honest!" said Biaggi.
Could it be the most dramatic and tense rivalry of recent memory is no more? This season Biaggi will ride an HRC-Spec RC211V. Biaggi will have the full support of HRC, as the two will look to dethrone Rossi. Pre-season is always more relaxed for the riders and teams. The answer to our question will come in Jerez, April 10th 2005.