When Biaggi finally got his chance of a full factory Honda ride in 2005, he finished the year without a win for the first time as a grand prix rider. The fallout from a deteriorating relationship with Honda then left Biaggi without a ride for 2006
, as HRC and others refused to supply machinery
for the Roman.
Rossi certainly wasn't alone in clashing with Biaggi, but like most riders he acknowledged the #3's exceptional abilities. Rossi perhaps also realised that without Biaggi to beat, many of his own premier-class victories would have been of less significance.
"It's a shame that Biaggi can't be in MotoGP this year. He has been a great and strong rider," said Rossi at the start of 2006.
After a year on the side-lines Biaggi returned rejuvenated in the 2007 World Superbike Championship, winning his first race - just as he had in 500cc - and eventually claiming two titles with Aprilia, to add to his four 250cc crowns.
The latest Biaggi led the 500cc/MotoGP championship standings was round 11 of 14 during his debut 1998 season (with Honda) eventually won by Mick Doohan.
It was not lost on Biaggi that, while Rossi has struggled in recent seasons - without a MotoGP title since 2009 and winless since 2010 - Biaggi has recently enjoyed some of the most successful years of his career.
Biaggi won the 2012 WSBK title by just half-a-point from Kawasaki's Tom Sykes.