We’re halfway through this year’s World Superbike season and Max Biaggi and the Aprilia RSV4 are currently second in the championship.
At 38 years of age, Max Biaggi is not only one of the most experienced motorcycle racers in the World Superbike paddock but also one of the most successful. He’s been road racing motorcycles professionally all over the world for the last 18 years missing only one season (2006) when he was transitioning between the MotoGP and World Superbike series. He has amassed 29 wins including four World Championships in the now extinct 250cc class, 13 500cc and MotoGP wins, and eight victories in the World Superbike Championship since joining it three years ago.
Most recently Biaggi teamed with his fellow Italian compatriots at Aprilia to contest the World Superbike Championship with the recently released RSV4 Factory. After a successful maiden season last year, Biaggi and Aprilia are now second in the points standing halfway through the season having finished on the podium seven times with two double wins at Portugal and Monza.
This weekend Biaggi is back in the US to contest the seventh round of the series at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City, Utah. Motorcycle USA caught up with him at a meet and greet hosted by his longest-running sponsor and premium Italian motorcycle safety gear manufacturer Dainese at its flagship Orange County D-Store in Southern California.
THE 2010 SEASON THUS FAR:
Aprilia’s Max Biaggi chats with fans prior to the US World Superbike round at Dainese’s Orange County D-Store.
Actually I’m pretty happy with the start of the season. After 2009, which was year one with the new Aprilia RSV4 project it was tough. Then halfway through last year we started improving fast—and better and better arriving at the podium more frequently. We found a good base for ’10. So 2010 started in a good way. We already have been winning and some podiums so we’ve been showing some muscle.
WINNING BOTH RACES AT MONZA:
That was something amazing. That was my first time doing double wins in a single race weekend. It was fantastic. Monza is very high speed. High speed corners, high speed track—over 200 mph. I was so happy to take the double wins in front of all the Italian fans and people. The president, the owner of our factory was there for the first-time ever to come and watch a motorcycle race. I was so happy to share the podium with him.
RACING WORLD SUPERBIKE VERSUS MOTOGP:
It’s kind of easier and kind of less pressure. I would say more friendly, more easy. Not so many schedules and as much timeliness as MotoGP. For me it suits better my style—my way to see the race and I can think more about the race. That’s my main goal, my main passion to think about the weekend and the strategy of the race and how to set-up the bike. The other thing is important but for me the purity of racing is in Superbikes.
WORLD SUPERBIKE IS ARGUABLY THE BEST MOTORCYCLE RACING SERIES RIGHT NOW:
I share with you this emotion. If you see a World Superbike race compared to the other races it’s much more true, much more raw. It’s really fairing-to-fairing. There aren’t only one or two riders but maybe five guys battling for the win. And every weekend it changes. It’s really nice. It’s the nature of the sport and it is these kinds of battles that build the sport. If you compare MotoGP and Superbike for sure in MotoGP you would never have these kind of battles that’s for sure. You’d never have five or six manufacturers on equal or similar level fighting for the wins. It’s more equal in Superbike.
Motorcycle USA chats with Aprilia’s Max Biaggi prior to the US round of the 2010 World Superbike Championship at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.
RETURNING TO AMERICA:
This is my first time back into the US this season. I came here a week before Miller because I have a house here in Malibu so it’s easier for me. That’s one of the reasons I bought a house here because during the off-season the temperature is nice, and, well in Europe, it’s freezing and wherever you go it’s raining [laughs].
RACING AT MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK:
Two years ago the first time we came here I was surprised with Miller. The layout of the track, the facilities is all much more European standard. The safety point of view is really high. It’s really nice to come here and race at this kind of track. It really suits the series well. I don’t know if there is any other track like Miller in the US. The other American tracks don’t look that safe or nice so I really like racing here.
OTHER RACES HE’S LOOKING FORWARD TO:
I have a nice hope for this one at Miller and then at Brno in Czechoslovakia [Czech Republic] and also Misano. Last year was very bad but this year for sure we’ll do better. I like Magny-Cours and Nürburgring—there’s more than one. But I think now the hard tracks are coming.
DOES IT BECOME MORE DIFFICULT TO RACE WHEN YOU GET OLDER?
First of all, when you’re younger you have much more energy and you don’t think about anything—you just go. You switch off and go. But experience tells you that sometimes you can save your energy and think more and you can get a better result. I’m at this kind of age in my career. I’m not that young anymore but I’ll use my experience to keep my head always focused on racing.
HOW MUCH LONGER HE’S PLANNING ON RACING:
Who knows? It can be one, two, three years, who knows? I’m just enjoying it so much right now that it doesn’t come out of mind to take a break from a motorcycle. I think it will be at least a few years more. I’ll do this until I run out of passion and motivation. But right now I’m motivated so I’m thinking I’m going to keep going for a little bit.
HIS LONGTERM SPONSOR DAINESE:
I’ve been with Dainese forever. Since my first professional race until now. Something like 18 years which is a fuc*$%#@ long career [laughs]. I have to say Dainese is like my second skin. I could never wear any other piece of leather because I know they [Dainese] are the highest quality leather. They are really ahead of anyone. To truly understand you need to see the factory, the people involved on the safety and the entire program they follow every year. Even if they are leading they still try and improve. It would be tough to compete with them.
BEING A DAD:
Max Biaggi signs autographs for fans prior the U.S. World Superbike round at Dainese’s Orange County D-Store.
It’s an extra motivation for me. She’s only seven months old. She’s of course cute. What can I say? [smiles] It brings me a lot of energy. Since then I’m more hungry than ever before. I feel like I need to go hunting for my family and that’s really a boost for me. She came with me to Monza and it was double wins and that was enough. Now she can stay home and work on trying to walk as soon as possible [smiles].
It’s really a pleasure to be a part of this sport and part of the team at Dainese. I have a long history and relationship with them and every people involved in the racing. We’ve all become like best friends. So hopefully even when I stop racing they’ll still be leading the market.