After a seemingly endless holdout, and countless rumors of an imminent signing, Aprilia have finally announced a new deal with 2010 World Superbike champion Max Biaggi. The deal had been long anticipated, and the announcement was expected to come at Aprilia's special championship celebration, which took place at Noale on Saturday, but was delayed until after the weekend so as not to get snowed under in a deluge of news from this weekend's MotoGP round at Phillip Island. And so the announcement finally came on Monday.
The deal sees Biaggi remain with Aprilia for the next two season, meaning that the Roman Emperor intends to be racing until he the age of 41. There had been some speculation that Biaggi had decided to retire, but the most important factor behind his decision to renew is the fact that Aprilia are keeping the team together, which is based around the team that helped the Roman to his four 250cc World Championships. If Biaggi wins the title again in 2011, it would make him the oldest World Superbike champion ever, taking that honor from Troy Bayliss.
Below is the text of the press release from Aprilia:
MAX BIAGGI WITH APRILIA FOR THE 2011 AND 2012 SEASONS
Aprilia Racing and Max Biaggi sealed the contract which ties the 2010 World Superbike Champion to the name which has seen him triumph from his début in the 250 Moto GP class.
Thanks to this agreement, which is valid for two years, Max Biaggi and Aprilia will be able to team up together to defend the Rider and Manufacturer titles earned this year. In fact, 2010 was an extraordinary year in sport for the Biaggi-Aprilia duo in World SBK: ten victories, four double wins and another four podiums led the five time champion to take the rider world championship (the first Italian in motorcycling history) and Aprilia to its first triumph in the WSBK Manufacturer standings.
With confirmation of the Biaggi-Aprilia association, one of the most victorious pairs in sports history is renewed: Max boasts five world championships in a record time frame, considering the fact that sixteen years have passed since his first 250 world championship and this year's SBK title. Aprilia boasts a collection of 45 world titles and, with 277 victories in GP, it is the most victorious name in the history of Moto GP.
"I'm obviously very happy to be continuing this winning adventure in World SBK with Aprilia" stated Max Biaggi. "After an exciting but tiring season, after many years of racing and many victories, it was only natural and right to stop and think, to reflect on such an important future commitment. And in my considerations a very decisive factor was, as it was at the beginning of this adventure with Aprilia, the fact that I feel so close to a team and a company which is so capable and so focussed on the sports objective. Now we need to prepare as best as we can for next season. We are well aware that we cannot rest on our laurels and that we will be in all of our rivals' sights. But now I am also sure that we will be highly motivated at the start of the first race, with a bike which I have brought up and which I did not want to abandon, ready to die hard... extremely hard".