Max Biaggi Motorcycle Racing Retirement
Although Aprilia Racing Team’s Max Biaggi took his second World Superbike title this year, his future was uncertain, bringing on a host of speculation.
And earlier this week, the speculation ascended. Would the six-time time world champion stick with Aprilia? Move to Ducati? Possibly abandon racing altogether?
Anything was possible, but on Wednesday, the 41-year-old Italian confirmed his future position during a press conference at the Vallelunga Circuit on the outskirts of Rome where Biaggi began his racing career over 20 years ago.
Biaggi’s announcement – retirement. But unlike Casey Stoner’s decision to retire from MotoGP at the conclusion of this season due to not liking the direction of the series, Biaggi’s decision wasn’t forced from any negative thoughts about World SBK.
Rather, Biaggi wanted to retire for personal reasons, such as spending more time with his wife Eleonora, his daughter Ines, who was born in 2009, and his son Leon, who was born in 2010 following Biaggi’s first World SBK title with Aprilia.
Max Biaggi says: “I really wanted this press conference because today is an important moment for Biaggi as a person; he abandons this world as world champion, a man of sport, to make way for a Biaggi that maybe very few people know really well.
“I chose Vallelunga because everything began here for me. It began by chance many years ago, a sort of magic world for a young guy who had absolutely nothing to do with the world of bikes, but then something sparked off in me and afterwards it became a dream that has taken me a very long way.
“All of my life in the last twenty years has been part of a very contorted world, full of joy and difficult moments, ups and downs, but what made the real difference was the passion that has pushed me towards always giving my best and my all. This passion for racing has taken me onto some great achievements. I have had many companions along the way, but one that truly stands out is Aprilia, with whom together we have written some important chapters in racing history. It was true love! We got together, we left each other, we hitched up again… And for this reason it is right and I am happy that I am retiring as world champion with Aprilia.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to make, and last night was the longest night of my life. For sure nothing will be the same as before but I am serene because it was a decision I wanted to make, not one I was forced into making. In any case together with Aprilia we are discussing about a project in the not too distant future and I hope I will be able to give you some more information soon.”
The “Roman Emperor” began racing at 20-years old in the 1991 250cc MotoGP class. Biaggi’s first world title arrived in 1994 while competing aboard an Aprilia in the former 250cc class; it would be the first of four consecutive championships in the class.
The Italian followed up the 1994 win by taking the 1995 and 1996 250cc titles aboard an Aprilia, and the 1997 title aboard a Honda. Biaggi then competed in MotoGP from 1998 through 2005, taking runner-up in three of those years.
In 2006, Biaggi was supposed to join the Corona Alstare Suzuki team in World Superbike, but the team had prior contract commitments with riders Troy Corser and Yukio Kagayama. Biaggi took the year off, but replaced Corser on the team for the 2007 World SBK Championship.
Biaggi finished third overall in 2007, and joined the Ducati team the following year, finishing seventh overall.
In 2009, Aprilia entered the World Superbike Championship with its all-new RSV-4, signing the older Biaggi, who immediately showed much promise on the new V4-powered superbike. Biaggi finished that year fourth overall after amassing 11 podiums, which included one race win (Yamaha’s Ben Spies took the title).
But it was the 2010 year where Biaggi would show the true worth of the Aprilia RSV4, the “Roman Emperor” taking the title after winning 10 races. Biaggi began the 2011 season strongly, looking to wrap another title. But he would suffer a foot injury after hitting some on-track debris during practicing at Nurburgring. Due to the injury, Biaggi would miss the Nurburgring round, and the subsequent two at Imola and Magny-Cours.
Regardless of the missed rounds, Biaggi would still finish third overall behind BMW Motorrad’s Marco Melandri and title-winner, Althea Ducati’s Carlos Checa.
Then 2012 arrived. It was an up and down year for Biaggi, with him taking only five wins. But though his results weren’t the best, neither were those of any other rider. This brought the tightest racing in the series history, which came down to the last round Sunday at Magny-Cours, Biaggi vying for points with Kawasaki Racing’s Tom Sykes and Melandri.
But Biaggi would come out on top, though the victory wasn’t realized until the last moments of the 14-round World Superbike Championship. Biaggi would win the 2012 World SBK title by a mere 0.5 points over Sykes.
All together, Biaggi has won 63 races (42 World Championship, 21 World Superbike), and finished on the podium 181 times (111 World Championship, 70 World Superbike). Five of his six titles were won on Aprilia machinery, and the other Honda (1997 250cc title).
The staff at Ultimate MotorCycling wishes Biaggi the best of luck in retirement, though we can’t wait to hear the details of this “project” Biaggi has in the works with Aprilia.