returned to the MotoGP saddle, as the former Grand Prix competitor and two-time World SBK champion piloted the Pramac Racing GP13 during a two-day test at Mugello. Biaggi filled in for the Ducati satellite squad’s injured rider, Ben Spies, as the American continues to rehab his ailing shoulder.
Afternoon rain showers hampered testing on both Thursday and Friday, as Biaggi got accustomed to MotoGP’s current spec of carbon fiber brakes and Bridgestone tires. Biaggi last competed in MotoGP in 2005 aboard the Michelin-shod Repsol Honda RC211V.
In the Pramac PR, Biaggi said of his temporary test-riding gig: “I’m back to being a rider for the first time in eight months! It was great because this is a sport that I really love, and after what feels like a long time, it was a great opportunity to ride a MotoGP bike. In the early laps I actually felt that I had really been away for eight years, because a MotoGP bike always has an immediate reaction, and a progression that just doesn’t exist in a Superbike. It was also nice because I established a great feeling with the group of people who were assigned to me for this test, just like when I began in Aprilia in 2009. There was a positive feeling between all of us, even though it was just a single test. I’d like to thank first Ducati, and also team Pramac for this opportunity. We were rather unfortunate because out of two days available we more or less only had one due to the rain, but it’s better than nothing. We didn’t do any damage and we had some good fun!”
Pramac’s Team Manager, Francesco Guidotti, said: “The first day was spent with Max trying to find out as much as possible about the bike because, as we said, after eight years of not riding a MotoGP bike, it was clear that his memories were from a long time back! Things have changed a lot since then, in particular the tires, but probably the carbon brakes were what slowed him down the most in his gaining overall confidence in the bike. On the second day, however, we could see an improvement right from the first time he went out; maybe during the night he reflected on what had happened the previous morning, as he hadn’t ridden in the afternoon due to the bad weather. I think it was great for him to test with us, and for us it was a great pleasure to have him in the box again!”
A four-time 250 Grand Prix champion with Aprilia, Biaggi retired from professional racing last year after his second SBK title-winning campaign – also with Aprilia.