Wednesday, October 20

MAX: ANOTHER TWO YEARS WITH APRILIA



THE speculation over Max Biaggi's future has been ended with an official announcement from Aprilia that the 2010 HANNspree Superbike World Champion has signed on for a further two years.

There had been speculation that the 39-year-old Biaggi may have been considering retirement but that has been put to rest by the October 18 statement from Aprilia.

"I'm obviously very happy to be continuing this winning adventure in World Superbike with Aprilia," Max Biaggi says.

"After an exciting but tiring season, after many years of racing and many victories, it was only natural and right to stop and think, to reflect on such an important future commitment. And in my considerations a very decisive factor was, as it was at the beginning of this adventure with Aprilia, the fact that I feel so close to a team and a company which is so capable and so focussed on the sports objective," he added.

"Now we need to prepare as best as we can for next season. We are well aware that we cannot rest on our laurels and that we will be in all of our rivals' sights. But now I am also sure that we will be highly motivated at the start of the first race, with a bike which I have brought up and which I did not want to abandon, ready to die hard... extremely hard!"

Biaggi won his first world title when he clinched the 1994 World 250 Championship on an Aprilia V-twin two-stroke. He went on to win a further two titles for the Italian manufacturer, in 1995 and '96 before switching to Honda to win his fourth World 250 Championship in 1997.

He then switched to the 500cc class with Honda and won the opening race of the 1998 season, at Suzuka in Japan, and won again at Brno to finish runner-up to Michael Doohan in the title chase with 208 points to Doohan's 260.

Biaggi switched to Yamaha in 1999 but won just one race, in South Africa, and finished fourth in the World 500 Championship. In 2000 he was third in the title chase, behind Kenny Roberts Junior (Suzuki) and Valentino Rossi (Honda) with two race wins.

Max Biaggi with Piaggio Group CEO Roberto Colaninno

The next two years he finished runner-up to Rossi in the premieer class, then switching back to Honda on one of the all-conquering RC211V five cylinder 990cc four-stroke racers in 2003, he finished third behind Rossi and Sete Gibernau.

In 2005, despite racing on a factory Repsol Honda alongside Nicky Hayden, he slumped to fifth in the MotoGP Championship and in 2006, with no one in MotoGP willing to hire him as he was considered too difficult to work with, Biaggi tried to secure a ride with the Alstare Suzuki Superbike team but failed to reach agreement on the level of equipment he would have, so he took a year off.

In 2007 he replaced Australian Troy Corers in the Alstare Suzuki team to race in the Superbike World Championship and scored two race wins and 14 other podiums to finish third in the title chase.

In 2008 he switched to the Sterligarda Go Eleven team on a Ducati 1098RS 08 and finished seventh in the title chase.

For 2009 he joined the new Aprilia Superbike team racing the 60 degree V4 RSV4 in its development season, and in 2010 he won the Superbike World Championionship - an amazing 16 years after he sampled his first world championship success.

Along the way to the 2010 title he racked up 10 race wins and four other podium finishes and became the first Italian rider to ever win a Superbike World Championship. It was also the first time Aprilia had taken the Superbike crown, adding this to the 44 other World Championships it has to its name.