Max Biaggi and Valentino Rossi are not known as being best of friends, having come to blows both on and off track in recent years, but after inheriting British GP victory when Rossi was penalised for passing under a yellow flag early in the race, the Roman Emperor admitted to feeling sympathy for his rival - especially after suffering a similar blow in 1998, which cost him the title.

"The decision of the race officials means that the 25 points go my way, but as a rider I can sympathise with Rossi," said Max, who led for half the race before missing a gear under braking and allowing the Repsol rider through. "I understand what he must be feeling at this time because the same thing happened to me in a race in Barcelona in 1998 which I had won on the track. The only difference is that the decision subsequently cost me the Championship."

Team owner Sito Pons also had mixed emotions; happy at his team having opened their 2003 win account, but admitting Rossi had earned victory.

"I am particularly satisfied because our team has achieved its first victory since we started this new project this season. I am especially happy about the very high level of competitiveness which Max and the team have demonstrated throughout the weekend and which has produced this victory," said the former racer. "I would also like to say that the result must be hard to take for Valentino Rossi who, together with Max, had an extraordinary race."