During the EICMA 2011 last week in Milan, World Superbike was present with the SBK Paddock Show.
Many of World Superbike’s stars spoke at the show, but drawing the biggest crowd was Italy’s Max Biaggi. After signing autographs and posing for photographs, 2010 World Superbike Champions WorldSBK.com caught up with him backstage.
In the following interview, Alitalia Aprilia’s Biaggi discusses his struggles in the 2011 World Superbike Championship, and the plans for 2012.
Q. You’re here at EICMA once again, this time at the World Superbike stand. What do you think of the show?
Max Biaggi (Alitalia Aprilia RSV4 World Superbike) says: “EICMA is the biggest and best bike show in Europe. Every year there are always a lot of new bikes and it’s just great to be here. I’m sure this negative period for the bike market will come to an end and things will start to improve again in the motorcycle industry.”
Q. The 2011 season wasn’t particularly easy. You were injured at the Nürburgring, then you came back at Portimão with two strong races despite only starting in 17th slot. Are you glad you can get back on the bike again at the end of the month at the Algarve circuit?
Max Biaggi says: “I finished third overall, with a bit of bad luck and after missing three rounds. For sure I wanted to do better but luck wasn’t in my zodiac sign this year. But I’m back in shape, that’s the important thing, I don’t need to recover any more because I’m already at 100%. Now I can start to work on myself and see where I can improve, and hope that the bike will make further progress so I can get a good start next year in Australia. I aim to get the number 1 plate back again but we’ll have to see what the other riders think about that. We’ll only have an idea of the 2012 season once the first race gets underway.”
Q. What’s your view about the single-bike rule for next year and the ban on testing for six weeks in December and January?
Max Biaggi says: “It’s a decision taken by the organizers to reduce costs. It’s a decision I can understand but I don’t necessarily agree with. If someone wants to test and has the money to do so, then let them do so. Those who can’t, will find other ways. As for the single bike I don’t know, it seems like a good idea but I think everyone will have a second bike ready in the truck just in case. I don’t think things will change much but we’ll see, in the end it’s an experiment.”
Q. Let’s move on to Eugene Laverty. Another rider from over the Channel, as in the last two seasons but someone who scored some good results in his first season. Do you think that competition within the same team can help in giving you further motivation?
Max Biaggi says: “My team is already tried and tested and Biaggi and his staff are all ready to go. Laverty will have a team all for himself who will as a result work for him alone. The only positive thing I can see is that it will be a good stimulus for me should I find myself in difficulty, in that case it’ll motivate me even more to try and stay ahead.”