WSBK » 29 March 2011
Biaggi apologises for Melandri spat
The reigning champion opens up about why he 'slapped' Marco Melandri at Donington Park...
Max Biaggi has spoken more candidly about his pit lane confrontation with Marco Melandri at the end of Superpole during the second round of the World Superbike Championship at Donington Park.
The former MotoGP rivals were involved in a qualifying spat after Biaggi pulled across Melandri when the Yamaha rider was on a quick qualifying lap. Melandri responding with 'sarcastic applause' and a 'block pass' that indicated his frustration.
Following the incident, Biaggi – followed by members of his Aprilia team and TV cameras – argued with Melandri in the pit lane, the reigning champion controversially giving his countryman two 'slaps' in the process.
Though Biaggi maintained his silence on the matter throughout the weekend, he explained his actions in an interview with Virgin Radio, as printed by GPOne.com, stating that he was 'sorry' and that he shouldn't have responded to provocation.
"I acted silly. A world champion shouldn't respond to provocation. I'm sorry I got involved in all of that,” he said.
"I'm sorry because I didn't need to do that. Everyone can make mistakes, I'm human just like everyone else, and what matters is recognising your errors. I'm very good at some things, but also really foolish when it comes to others.
"Melandri likes to complain a lot,” he added. “When he was in MotoGP with us, he said that Rossi was getting special tyres, that Capirossi was stealing his pay-check, and had a comment for everyone. Now that he's in Superbike, he is having problems with poor old Biaggi. Kidding aside, I'm not going to respond to Melandri's comments, because that would be falling for the same provocation twice.
“I can only discuss the facts. We were actually judged by Race Direction at the track, who spoke with us and our team managers, and who said that I did hold him up, but that it was involuntary. Meanwhile, what he did was judged to be voluntary. Both voluntary and involuntary actions are punishable, and in this case we were penalised equally."
"Then, the fact that I went to his garage after Superpole was in response to his provocation, where he gave me a sarcastic applause. It made me mad, and I was silly to fall into his trap and play his game. For that I am sorry. I know I made a mistake, and made a gesture that wasn't appropriate. But I'm like that. I'm not able to be fake and I have always been direct.
“Next time I won't respond to any provocation. And if we went back through the years, do you know how many incidents we would find where I was in the right? But I don't want to get into that type of conversation. I've made my comment on Race Direction's decision, and all the rest is just talk."
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