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Rider: Massimiliano “Max” Biaggi
Nickname: Max, Roman Emperor, Mad Max
Born: June 26, 1971 in Rome, Italy
The Roman Emperor. Mad Max is one of the most entertaining riders on the circuit today with an aggressive riding style that has made him more enemies than friends in the paddock. Max joined the 500 class with Yamaha in 1998 after a string of 250 titles with Italian manufacturer Aprilia. Biaggi’s career in the premier class was defined by his contentious rivalry with Valentino Rossi, with many acrimonious incidents on and off the track. Faced against the popular Rossi, Biaggi developed a villainous persona in Grand Prix, though the Roman was one of the few riders who could vie with The Doctor for Grand Prix victories.
In 2005 Biaggi managed to get himself thrown out of MotoGP when he was black-balled by Honda, his former employer. The subject of numerous 2006 rumors, Biaggi ultimately could not secure a ride for the ’06 season. Mad Max landed on his feet in 2007 with Troy Corser’s vacated Suzuki WSB ride.
Max made nice in SBK and saw positive results, which included winning the season opener at Qatar. In his first full season, Biaggi finished third in the championship. But the at the conclusion of the year, the Italian found himself in a familiar spot, out of a ride and with an uncertain future. Mad Max regressed in 2008, finishing seventh
overall for the Sterilgarda Ducati squad after an impressive third-place overall in his SBK rookie season with the factory Suzuki team.
Biaggi raced 2009 aboard the all-new Aprilia RSV4. Doing so the Roman reunited with the marque he enjoyed great championship success with in his 250 Grand Prix glory days, and pushed the Aprilia into the fourth spot in the championship standings.
In 2010 Biaggi’s success reached the pinnacle when he led his Aprilia team to the rider and manufacturers championship victory. Mad Max’s season included a total of 10 wins and four double victories, allowing him to clench the title a round early.
Following Biaggi’s title success in 2011, the Italian retuned to defend his crown with Aprilia. The Emperor’s season would pale in comparison to his last, however, as Biaggi scored just two wins. By the end of the year Biaggi did manage to collect a total of 12 podiums, which helped him finish third overall in the series.
For 2012 Biaggi is once again teaming with Aprilia to contest another World Superbike title as Marco Melandri’s former crew chief, Aligi Deganello, joins the factory Aprilia-backed effort.
Biaggi started the 2012 World Superbike season with a bang, earning the first race win of the season at Phillip Island. That would be his last race win for a number of rounds, but he remained consistently within the top-five earning valuable points. A three-race win streak mid-season propelled the Roman Emperor to the top of the list, but he had to fight hard against BMW’s Marco Melandri and Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes to remain the overall points leader through the latter half of the season.
A challenging final round at Magny-Cours saw Biaggi crash in Race 1 and open the door to Sykes, who placed third. Biaggi was then faced with a worse-case scenario: if Sykes finished Race 2 in first, Biaggi had to finish fifth or better to clinch the title – and that’s exactly what happened. The Aprilia ace battled up to fifth place and held steady to the checkers, winning his second Superbike title by just half a point over Sykes.
Nearly a month after the final race of the 2012 season, Biaggi announced his retirement from professional motorcycle racing, going out on top and leaving an impressive legacy in both MotoGP and World Superbike.
2011 – 3rd World Superbike – Aprilia
2010 – 1st World Superbike – Aprilia
2009 – 4th World Superbike – Aprilia
2008 – 7th World Superbike – Ducati
2007 – 3rd World Superbike – Suzuki
2005 – 5th MotoGP – Honda
2004 – 3rd MotoGP – Honda
2003 – 3rd MotoGP – Honda
2002 – 2nd MotoGP – Yamaha
2001 – 2nd 500cc MotoGP – Yamaha
2000 – 3rd 500cc MotoGP – Yamaha
1999 – 4th 500cc MotoGP – Yamaha
1998 – 2nd 500cc MotoGP – Honda
1997 – 1st 250cc MotoGP – Honda
1996 – 1st 250cc MotoGP – Aprilia
1995 – 1st 250cc MotoGP – Aprilia
1994 – 1st 250cc MotoGP – Aprilia
1993 – 4th 250cc MotoGP – Honda
1992 – 5th 250cc MotoGP – Aprilia
1991 – 27th 250cc MotoGP – Aprilia
1991 – 1st European 250cc – Aprilia
1990 – 1st Italian 125cc Sport Production