took a thrilling win in the 500cc class, rising from a lowly twelfth on the grid to lead the field across the Finish line in what could have been anybody's race.
The Italian said, “That was a real race, win or lose, it was so exciting. I got a not-so-bad start and everyone was fighting from the first turn. One lap you could cross the line in the lead, then next time fourth or fifth; the fast straight here means that it's easy to use the slipstream, so there was a lot of passing.” adding “There was also a lot of touching - I touched Barros and Capirossi, and many times with McCoy, “ such was the intensity of the lead battle.
Biaggi then described the last lap sprint for the line, “Near the finish it was just the three of us - me, Capirossi and Rossi. Capirossi was very strong but it was my day. My thanks to the team and I'm happy Yamaha have won the constructors' title. It's important because we race for the factory but next time I want the riders' crown too. This race will give us a lot of enthusiasm for winter testing.''
The win was Max's fifth has a 500cc rider and promoted him to third in the final Championship Standings. It also allowed Yamaha to win the much-coveted Constructors crown
“A big thank you to Max for helping us win the constructors' title,'' beamed Yamaha YZR500 project leader Shuji Sakurada
, “That was such an exciting race and it completed a great day for Yamaha, for we had already won the 250 riders' and constructors' title. I'm very happy, this result is a gift for all the hard work,” before emphasising “it's not our final goal, next year we want the Riders' World Championship.
Other than Biaggi, Loris Capirossi
was the strongest rider out there, leading on a number of occasions, before ultimately losing out in the last lap scramble, running wide at the hairpin.
He said, “I tried very hard all the way and my bike and tyres were good to the end but the Yamaha was faster than my bike.” But despite the result he remained upbeat, “Anyway, it was a fun race and I've enjoyed my return to 500s this year, though I got too many injuries and that broke my championship.”
(Honda) although never leading the race was very mush in contention today, being well positioned to pounce on the final lap, should Biaggi or Capirossi have faltered.
“Max and Capirossi were fighting so hard, so my plan was to attack on the last lap,” said this year's 500cc rookie of the year winner. His chance of adding a 500cc Phillip Island victory to his 250cc win from last year was blighted by the ferocious nature of the racing. “I didn't see the last lap board! The race was so close and I was alongside Barros as we started the final lap, so my view was obscured.”