Max Biaggi dismissed any hard feelings towards Marco Simoncelli despite missing out on a double podium finish during the latest World Superbike round at Imola.
Although the Italian began the weekend relatively slowly as his substitute team-mate stole the limelight, Biaggi made his move during Superpole to qualify in a strong sixth position.
An excellent start from row two immediately saw him out front during the opening race, Biaggi sprinting ahead of the two Ducatis before using the Aprilia RSV4's remarkable straight-line speed to quell Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio's arguably stronger grunt out of the corners.
Getting overtaken by Haga with just three laps remaining, Biaggi looked to be heading for third when he was also passed by Fabrizio, but had the satisfaction of passing his fellow Roman on the final corner for second.
“It was a wonderful race - from start to finish,” he mused. “I tried to set the pace, but the Ducati was faster along the second part of the track, which we still haven't resolved. I'm very happy because we achieved great results here in Italy with our fans present.
“This is a circuit where we have already suffered a lot from the tests, but we did a great job with our technicians to improve the situation and as of this morning, the set-up of the RSV4 was already very good.”
Looking for more of the same in race two, Biaggi ran a strong second early on, but two mistakes would see him drop into the clutches of Simoncelli, who in turn was charging in the other direction.
It culminated in the 250GP World Champion pulling off a remarkable move at the final corner chicane, one that Biaggi admits he wasn't expecting. Nonetheless, despite the slightly controversial method of Simoncelli's pass, Biaggi was full of praise for his younger countryman.
“When I took off, I tried to stay with the Ducatis, which immediately set the pace, so in order to recover about halfway through the race I made two mistakes that resulted in me losing a great deal of the advantage I had accumulated.
“I wasn't expecting Simoncelli to enter there, so in order to not hit the wall or Spies, we had to do some manoeuvring to stay up.
"In any case, it was a very positive weekend, I would have never hoped to have recovered so many points on Rea in the world championship, considering he was always so fast both in the test runs and the trials.
"I would also like to compliment Simoncelli who was very good, especially in race two.”