The 2011 World Superbike Championship began well for Max Biaggi, the Italian taking second place in both Phillip Island races. The 39-year-old Aprilia RSV4 rider finished 4.365 seconds behind in Race 1, 1.88 seconds in Race 2 (both races won by Althea Ducati’s Carlos Checa).
This is much better than his fifth- and eight-place finishes during 2010 Phillip island en route to his first Championship in the World Superbike series.
And Biaggi says he’s feeling quite comfortable aboard the Aprilia RSV4, which was something he struggled with in his championship-winning season in 2010. With everything starting so well for the "Roman Emperor" Biaggi, 2011 may bring more success to him and his Italian counterpart, the Aprilia RSV4.
WorldSBK.com caught up with Biaggi after the Australian Round of 2011 WSBK. Here’s what Biaggi had to say:
World SBK: At Phillip Island you scored 40 points, 21 more than last year: what brought about this massive improvement at a circuit which usually causes a few problems for the RSV4?
Max Biaggi says: "To be honest after the tests in December we had a feeling we would be more competitive than in 2010. My race pace was always good and that was demonstrated by the fastest lap I set in both races. I’m happy to have done better than last year and, if it hadn’t been for a Checa on top form, we could have gone for the big one."
World SBK: In Australia Checa couldn’t be caught, and you had a terrific scrap with Melandri in race 2: which rider impressed you the most in view of the season ahead?
Max Biaggi says: "Checa for sure was more constant and he’s also quick, while Melandri ran a good second race"
World SBK: The next round is at Donington Park (March 27). In 2009 you had a great race 1, do you think that on paper it could be a good circuit for you and Aprilia?
Max Biaggi says: "It looks like the Yamaha always goes well at this circuit, they won both races in 2009 (Ed. with Spies). I’ve finished second there but I feel sure we’ll have to sweat things out in England, it’s not going to be easy! I reckon Checa is going to be pretty quick there as well."
World SBK: At Phillip Island you raced for the first time in Superbike with the number 1 plate, and this was also thanks to the suggestions from your fans: was it a difficult decision to abandon the number 3 or in hindsight is it a great feeling to race with the World Champion’s number on your bike?
Max Biaggi says: "I decided to use the number 1 for my fans, who have been waiting for this moment for a long time. And I also wanted to gratify my Aprilia team, because it’s true that the number 1 has a specific meaning and it’s not an easy feat to obtain it."