A bemused Cal Crutchlow has admitted that he is at something of a loss to explain Max Biaggi's apparent over-reaction to his celebrations up on the podium after the 2010 World Superbike Championship finale at Magny-Cours last weekend, telling Crash.net
that he had never intended to provoke the Aprilia ace.
So well-documented has the fracas
between the pair been, that their pulsating race two exchange has almost been forgotten, with newly-crowned WSBK Champion Biaggi pipping the season's top rookie to the top step of the rostrum by a scant 0.087s. And then when Crutchlow went to spray the champagne, things got a little heated...
“From my point-of-view, I was happy with the race,” confessed the Yamaha Sterilgarda star. “We both had a classic race, and Max kept his cool brilliantly. I take nothing away from Max's achievements – he won the race out-and-out, fair-and-square. I tried my best over the last couple of laps, but he rode a fantastic race. I congratulated him afterwards and we shook hands with each other, but then up on the podium it was a little bit different.
“Initially he was fine; he threw the trophy up in the air and appeared ecstatic, so when the national anthem finished I grabbed the champagne and started spraying it. It was never aimed at him directly or aimed at his face – I think it was maybe taken by him in the wrong context. I thought he was joking when he started jumping around so I carried on spraying him, and then he said 'don't spray it at me'. I said 'why not, you've just won the race' and he said 'I'm sick'. I apologise to Max – I didn't realise he was sick, and I certainly didn't expect his reaction.
“I said 'you've won the world championship and it's the last race of the year – we should spray the champagne together', and then he barged me. It was just a bit heat-of-the-moment from both of us, I think. I was ecstatic at having finished first and second in the races, and I thought he would be ecstatic too at winning the last race of the year and the world title – I wanted us all to enjoy the ceremony as we should. At the end of the day, I wanted to celebrate that.
“We've all hard a hard season – the teams have worked hard all year and the riders have too, so why not celebrate with the champagne? It was Ducati's last podium as a factory team, Max had won the title and I'd had a good day. Everybody expects to get wet with champagne after the last race of the year.
“I don't want people to think I had sour grapes – I didn't. Max won the fight outright. I enjoyed the second race superbly. I'm not a sore loser at all, especially having finished first and second – for me, that was nearly as good as the Silverstone double.
“We spoke about it afterwards, and that's the end of it now as far as I'm concerned. The one thing I do have for Max Biaggi is a lot of respect. He's won the world title, and you can't take that away from him. He was the best rider in the championship this year, and he proved that in many cases.”
Insisting that the incident is now in the past, Crutchlow went on to briefly discuss Biaggi's reputation for trying to intimidate fellow riders, though he stressed that the Italian running him off the track during Friday practice had played no part in the podium scuffle.