Italians smitten by the Max factor

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For a man who usually travels at speed, Max Biaggi takes a long time to ride the short distance to the pit lane from his trailer.

There are autographs to sign, friends to chat to and hundreds of supporters begging him to squeeze the brakes on his Honda and pose with them for snapshots.

A young man pushes a mobile phone to the rider's lips and urges him to shout "Ciao" to friends watching the Italian Grand Prix on television in nearby Florence.