2012 World Superbike Prep
Following his 2010 World Superbike title, Alitalia Aprilia’s Max Biaggi was looking to fight for his title in 2011.
But after grabbing two second-place finishes at the season opener in Phillip Island, trouble began for the Italian. The first was a disqualification at race 2 in Donington, when Biaggi jumped the start in race 2.
Then there was the foot injury at Nurburgring; Biaggi fractured the metatarsus his left foot that not only kept him from starting in Germany, but also the following two rounds at Imola, Italy, and Magny Cours, France.
But Biaggi is now healthy, and looking to steal the title from Ducati’s Carlos Checa in 2012. It’ll be a fresh beginning for the Alitalia Aprilia team in 2012, also; Biaggi will be working with a new teammate, Eugene Laverty, and a new crew. Joining the Alitalia Aprilia World Superbike team will be the late Marco Simoncelli’s crew chief, Aligi Deganello, and different mechanics.
World SBK caught up with Biaggi in the off season; in the following interview, Biaggi speaks of the past and future of his World Superbike career.
Q. You are the most successful Aprilia rider of all time with 4 world titles (3 in 250 cc and 1 in SBK) with 36 wins and 32 poles. Where do you find the stimulus to improve?
Max Biaggi (Alitalia Aprilia RSV4) says: "It’s an honor for me to have been able to do all this and it’s also sentimental ties with the Noale company and all its technical staff. Now things get more difficult as I have to win again, but I’m really motivated for 2012! I’m working hard to improve again and I feel that I can succeed".
Q. You have had three seasons with the Aprilia SBK team. How do you feel about helping them to become world champion in Superbike, something they’d never been able to do before?
Max Biaggi says: "I’m very pleased to have contributed to this fantastic result! The ‘first times’ are always special and you never forget them, like my first 250 cc title in 1994 with Aprilia. I also remember 2009 when they called me to develop and race with Aprilia, the RSV was totally new and there was a lot of enthusiasm. We never expected to win the world title in just two years."
Q. The same bike next year but you’ll have a a completely new team, a sort of revolution for you. How did you and Aprilia arrive at this decision?
Max Biaggi says: "In fact I am the one who has had to suffer this change. Nothing depended on me and unfortunately I’m paying the consequences. Everyone can imagine how tough it is to start a new world championship season with just a couple of months to organize everything and with a totally new team. Let’s hope for the best!"
Q. Who are the new arrivals? Are they going to make much difference to your plans?
Max Biaggi says: "Together with Aprilia I’ve decided to take on Aligi (Deganello) who will be my new crew chief. I feel good about the decision both on the human and technical side of things. We’ll have to see how the races go to have an overall view but just let us get down to work. There are also three more people who have worked in Aprilia. I’m feeling confident about everything."
Q. How are you spending your winter break?
Max Biaggi says: "Actually I’ve been involved mentally and on a practical level to get the team set up. Now that we’ve done the most important part I hope I can have a more relaxed Christmas, because the loss of my old team was quite a sufferance to me. No hard feelings, I have a great feeling with all of them, so I’d like to wish them all the best for their new adventure."