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January 12, 2005 at 1:34 pm #9352GixParticipant
Max Biaggi is on schedule to return to action at Sepang later this month after stepping up his recovery from a broken leg. The Honda rider was back on his feet for a family holiday to Mexico over the Christmas break and got a taste for competitive race action at the opening round of the AMA Supercross series in Anaheim on a trip to the USA.
“I flew from Mexico, where I was on holiday with my family, to Southern California,” explained Biaggi. “I was too close not to go there. The first Supercross race is a sweet, sweet bite: a great show and a great opportunity to meet some fellow riders outside the GP circuit, like my friend and colleague Nicky Hayden.
“I showed up at Angel Stadium in Anaheim with 70,000 people! Sold out: that was the only writing on the ticket office board. Because the last ticket was sold three months ago! It’s a dream even for the Italian soccer teams.2
Unfortunately for Biaggi and the rest of the fans the event, which featured star names such as Ricky Carmichael and James ‘Bubba’ Stewart, was virtually washed out by bad weather.
“The rain that fell on California for days turned the stadium into a big swimming pool,” said Biaggi. “The highest jumps measured just a few inches. First place, Kevin Windam.
“The Honda Rider (Windham) was the coolest. Even though he fell once, he managed to jump back on the bike and keep the lead to the chequered flag. His long legs definitely helped him walking in the deep mud.”
Biaggi added that the recent break from action also gave him chance to reflect on the 2004 season, when he came up with a surprising admission regarding his most famous rival.
“A few days ago a journalist from the Italian newspaper La Stampa called me and asked me about “The Athlete of the Year”,” he explained. “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!
“The Italian journalist explained to me that I could not vote for him. Incredible: “You know Max, Rossi, as you, was already elected as Athlete of the Year and for this reason he cannot be elected again. You must say a new name…” So, here it is: Stefano Baldini, a great marathon runner, gold medal in the Athens Olympics.”
Biaggi will undergo an examination on the 17th January to determine his fitness ahead of the HRC tests at Sepang, scheduled to start just five days later. Meanwhile, Clinica Mobile chief Doctor Costa is working closely with Dainese on a special boot, which would provide extra protection for the affected bones in Biaggi’s left foot.
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