Max Biaggi is chasing a place in history in round two of the MotoGP World championships at Phakisa this weekend. If he finishes 12th or higher he will become the highest ever points scorer in the sport.

Max Biaggi is chasing a place in history in round two of the MotoGP World championships at Phakisa this weekend. If he finishes 12th or higher he will become the highest ever points scorer in the sport.

The Honda rider is only four points behind Mick Doohan, having made a total of 2 294 since he made his world championship debut in the 250 class in 1991.

In this year’s race, Biaggi is lying second in the world championship race with 20 points, five behind world champion Valentino Rossi. “I made a good start in Suzuka this year and I hope to continue like this and improve,” he said.

“A second-place finish with a new bike and a new team is not bad at all in a very competitive year. It’s clear that I will give my all throughout the championship as this is my character. I like the Welkom circuit and I have good memories of it. I hope that the track conditions are good this year and that it is not too dirty,” Biaggi said.

“I’ve been working hard on my fitness,” said the Italian. “At Welkom the temperatures can be quite high and the race can become a fitness test. I want to keep applying the system and working methods we used at Suzuka and maintain my concentration throughout the race. We don’t have the advantage of extra testing time here, but it will be an important race to see more of our potential – on the racetrack.”

Biaggi’s team-mate Tohru Ukawa will be hoping to have as much success as last year. It was his maiden MotoGP victory and he beat Valentino Rossi, his then team-mate, in a last-lap showdown. It was the only circuit where Rossi failed to take the chequered flag in the first nine races of last season,

Ukawa said a lot of thought has to go into racing at Welkom. “You have to think more about your tyres at Welkom than at most tracks,” said Ukawa. “It’s a difficult circuit in many ways, especially for the tyres, because it’s hot, bumpy and dirty, and therefore slippery. The lack of grip means you get a lot of wheelspin, so you need to be very steady with your throttle hand – opening the gas a little more slowly, a little more carefully than usual. If you don’t think about it you can burn up your tyres,” he said.

Tributes to Kato will be held over the weekend and many of the usual promotional events surrounding a MotoGP race have been cancelled out of respect.

Phakisa programme

Saturday April 26

06h30 - Gates Open

09h00 - Free Practice 125cc

10h00 - Free Practice MotoGP

11h15 - Free Practice 250cc

12h20 - Nissan Air BP Flying Lions

12h30 - Stunt Riders

13h15 - Final Qualifying 125cc

14h00 - 1st Qualifying Session MotoGP

15h15 - 1st Qualifying Session 250cc

Sunday April 27

06h00 - Gates Open

09h00 - Warm up 125cc - 09h20

09h30 - Warm up 250cc - 09h50

10h00 - Warm up - 10h20

10h25 - Skydivers - 10h35

10h40 - Stunt Riders - 10h55

11h00 - Pit lane opens for 125cc Sighting lap

11h15 - 125cc Grand Prix

12h10 - 125cc Podium Ceremony

12h15 - Pit lane opens for 250cc Sighting lap

12h30 - 250cc Grand Prix

13h15 - Shurlok Aerobatic team

13h25 - 250cc Podium Ceremony

13h40 - Pit lane opens for MotoGP Sighting lap

14h00 – MotoGP Grand Prix

15h00 - MotoGP Podium ceremony.