Max Biaggi Returns on Top at Misano SBK Practice
Max Biaggi showed no remorse during his return to racing Friday. Piloting the Aprilia Racing Team RSV4 RF, Biaggi dominated the opening free practices at Misano in Italy for round eight of the 2015 World Superbike Championship.
The 43-year-old Italian, who won his two World SBK title aboard an Aprilia RSV4 (2010, 2012), topped the Misano SBK leaderboards with a best lap of 1:35.380 after the two 45-minute FP sessions.
Biaggi, who helps develop the Aprilia RSV4 RF, is running as a wildcard entry for Aprilia Racing Team alongside normal pilots Leon Haslam and Jordi Torres. Before a home crowd, he was quick from the outset; Beiaggi led both Misano SBK free practice sessions.
When Friday’s practice wrapped up, the six-time World Champion Biaggi finished 0.251 of a second ahead of Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK’s Davide Giugliano, and 0.257 of a second ahead of Giugliano’s teammate Chaz Davies. Finishing fourth, 0.272 of a second back, was Aprilia’s Haslam, placing four Italian machines in the top four positions.
“I’m happy to be here and I want to sincerely thank Aprilia and the Piaggio Group for having given me this fantastic opportunity. I’m working with the guys from the Noale test team whom I tested with these past months for MotoGP and Superbike and it is both fun and strange to be here in what is no longer a testing atmosphere but a race situation,” Biaggi says.
“I am really pleased for them as well. Here I am back in my element of riders, friends, fantastic knights on steel steeds who ride fast, and seeing them from the inside of the competition is much different than commenting them on TV. Now we are thinking about Saturday. I think the farther forward we go the harder it will be. Times will start dropping in practice, tyre availability will go down and we’ll be tackling the electronics that I’ve never tested. We’ll see. It won’t be simple and we’ll also need a bit of luck.”
Finishing fifth and sixth were the Kawasaki Racing Team duo of Jonathan Rea (-0.292) and Tom Sykes (-03.55), just ahead of Torres on the third Aprilia Racing Team RSV4 RF. Rounding out the top 10 were Barni Racing Ducati’s Leandri Mercado, Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes and Althea Racing Ducati’s Matteo Baiocco.
The riders return to the Misano Circuit Saturday for two additional free practices ahead of Superpole.