Rossi and Biaggi: Beyond Rivalry
Rossi and Biaggi are two of the most controversial riders when it comes to the MotoGP World Championships. They are two Italian, fast, hot-blooded and aggressive riders. It was just a matter of time until the two collided on the track. And so it was: from the beginning in the 125cc category, sparks were already flying between Rossi and Biaggi. In this article, we’ll analyze what was – and still is – a story that goes beyond rivalry.
Valentino Rossi has had many rivals throughout his racing career. The Italian is not known for making friends on the track.
One of his first rivals was Max Biaggi. Their story of rivalry has gone through many categories. Here are a few critical moments that the two have shared:
Biaggi and Rossi: rivals then classmates
It’s strange that the rivalry between Rossi and Biaggi began before the two were even competing in the same category. Due to the age difference between the two, and while Rossi was in the lower categories, Biaggi was already a rider in the highest category.
Their rivalry initially started due to the fact that both riders are Italian. The sporting press was focussed on who’d become the next great Italian champion. Therefore, although both were competing in different categories, they saw each other as rivals.
According to the press, the rivalry began when Valentino Rossi – still a rookie – commented that Biaggi always blamed the bike or the tires whenever he failed to achieve good results.
Days later, the media was filled with headlines in which it was reported that Rossi and Biaggi had a strong discussion in a restaurant on Phillip Island during the Grand Prix weekend.
In the same category, the rivalry between Biaggi and Rossi increased
The 2000 season was the first time that Rossi and Biaggi shared the track. Rossi had been racing four years to reach the premier class in order to have a shot at the world title.
It was finally time for the two rivals to meet face to face on the track. As soon as they did, sparks began to fly.
During the first season, there was some friction between the two, but nothing too serious. At the end of the championship, Rossi finished second and Biaggi came in third. None of them managed to obtain the title of World Champion, however, the tension continued to increase.
The following year, Rossi performed better from the first race and so did Biaggi. Throughout the season, they had constant encounters on the track, particularly during the Montmelo Grand Prix in 2001.
During the race, Rossi overtook Biaggi to finish in first place. In the previous race, Biaggi had nudged Rossi off the track while he tried to perform the same maneuver. When the two met on the podium, they began fighting which ended in them falling off the stairs. Rossi later defined the fight as, “Attempted homicide“.
2003: Rossi gives up the best motorcycle
In 2001, 2002 and 2003 Rossi won the world championships. Biaggi however, had claimed in the media that Rossi did not win due to his talent, but rather because of the Honda’s potential. It was true that at that moment in time, Honda was renowned for producing the best motorcycles. Yamaha, the motorcycle Biaggi rode was struggling to keep up.
Rossi, who was looking for a new challenge, decided to stop riding with Honda and switched to Yamaha. This move took the world by surprise. As Rossi switched to Yamaha the vacancy in Honda was filled by Biaggi.
The 2004 season began differently than the previous seasons. Rossi riding a Yamaha had to work hard to remain competitive.
On the other hand, Biaggi finally had the almighty Honda. To everyone’s surprise, Rossi won the world championship once again. There was no excuse, Rossi retained the championship without having the best motorbike on the track.
This was a hard blow for Biaggi, he decided to stay with Honda for two more years. His best result was reaching third place in the world championships. He later began to compete with superbikes and then retired in 2012. Although both riders were extremely talented and achieved great results, one of the most unforgettable things will be their rivalry.