Max Biaggi will campaign 2012 without long-time crew chief Giovanni Sandi – the two seen here at Miller SBK in 2011.
Finding talent for his racing team has been a top priority for Biaggi in the off-season, as long-time crew chief, Giovanni Sandi, is reputedly chairing an Aprilia-powered CRT effort in MotoGP for 2012. Sandi left with a number of the Aprilia SBK mechanics, leaving Biaggi scrambling to assemble a team.
“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,” said Biaggi in an interview on WorldSBK.com. “Let’s hope for the best!”
The former Grand Prix star went on to state: “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.”
While Biaggi admits in the interview that “the loss of my old team was quite a sufferance to me,” he adds there are “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.”
Sandi’s migration to MotoGP is linked to an Aprilia RSV-powered CRT entry for Ioda Racing. Interestingly, when asked at the 2011 Miller SBK round about whether the Aprilia V-Four could compete in Grand Prix, Biaggi’s immediate response was no (Production Engine GP SBK Dispute). That was at the height of conflict between SBK and Grand Prix over the use of production engines in MotoGP. Since then, the Aprilia RSV4 engine has proven the most popular powerplant of the new Claiming Rule Teams, linked to five of the provisional CRT entries.
As for Biaggi, the 40-year-old looks to rebound in ’12 from a difficult title defense, which saw former GP competitor Carlos Checa take the 2011 crown. This upcoming season Biaggi will anchor the factory Aprilia effort alongside new teammate Eugene Laverty. SBK rookie and current World Supersport champion Chaz Davies will also pilot an Aprilia RSV4, the Welsh rider campaigning under the ParkinGo banner.
Noted as the most successful Aprilia rider to date, with four titles and 36 wins, Biaggi said of his 2012 plans: “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”.