Max Biaggi Announces Retirement

Max Biaggi has announced he is to retire from motorcycle racing. The 2012 World Superbike Champion will not defend his title in 2013, and has ceased racing with immediate effect. At the age of 41, after some 20 years of racing at the very top level, the six-time World Champion has decided to call it a day.

"It all started here and it all ends here," Biaggi told a press conference at the Vallelunga circuit just outside Rome. The decision had been taken with great difficulty, he said, but finally, the desire to spend more time with his wife and family had prevailed over his hunger to race. The night before the press conference had been "my longest night," Biaggi told the press, "but I am happy with this decision." It had been a decision taken freely. He had a contract ready to sign from Aprilia, and he still felt competitive, but he felt it was the right time to leave. Many riders had been forced by injury to retire, but being able to leave while still healthy was an important factor, Biaggi said.

Biaggi's career was both remarkable and memorable, for the right reasons as well as the wrong reasons. Biaggi started racing late, only taking up the sport at the age of eighteen, an age at which many racers have already been racing for ten years or more. The Italian learned quickly, winning the Italian Sport Production class, then finishing as runner-up in the European 250cc Championship, before entering Grand Prix in the 250cc class in 1992. He won his first race in his first season, winning his first 250cc title in 1994, then going on to win four championships in a row in the intermediate class.

His entry into the 500cc class was equally dramatic, taking pole position, fastest lap and the win in his first race in the premier class, and ending that year second in the championship behind Mick Doohan. But Biaggi never managed to improve on that result, despite winning a total of 13 races in 500cc and MotoGP. The arrival of Valentino Rossi, who had declared Biaggi to be his arch enemy, sparked a fascinating and intense rivalry in which Biaggi never managed to triumph. His career in MotoGP was cut short after a difficult year with the factory Honda team in 2005, during which Biaggi offered frequent and trenchant criticism of the bike, and after an incident deemed unacceptable by HRC management, his contract was not renewed. A deal to continue with Sito Pons fell through when Honda refused to supply a bike to Pons' team for Biaggi to ride.

After a year in the wilderness, Max Biaggi made a return to racing in the style which his fans had come to expect, winning his first ever World Superbike race aboard the Alstare Suzuki. Biaggi was always competitive in the World Superbike series, but only found championship form again when he was reunited with Aprilia, who were racing their RSV4 in the class. Biaggi won the 2010 championship convincingly, in Aprilia's second year in the championship. The Italian was unable to defend his title in 2011, losing out to Carlos Checa, but his second WSBK title came after a long and thrilling season, in which he finished ahead of Kawasaki's Tom Sykes by the tightest margin ever, just half a point, half points having been awarded at the rain-hit Monza round.

Biaggi was cagey on his future, but he did tell the press conference that though he may not be racing any more, he would not be leaving the motorcycling world altogether. "I am thinking about a collaboration with Aprilia, but it will not be in racing," Biaggi told the press conference.

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You had your black ball (& flag) moments, but the finish (in SBK & as #1) was well done sir.

Never really liked Max, but well done on your career and way to finish it on a high note. So who's getting that seat David? Any idea??

I am sad to see Max retire, but it is good to see him go out on top. I enjoyed following him over the years, from when he was a lightning rod for criticism, to his resurgence on World Superbike. Unlike his GP years, he seemed to have a lot of fun racing the Superbikes and it was fun for all of us to watch. I think very often, he elevated everybodies game too.

At Laguna MotoGP in 2005, Max was clearly a fan favorite and finished a strong 4th to Nick, Colin and Rossi at a track the last two clearly didn't like. He was great with is fans. He clearly liked us Americans, which was further reinforced by making his off-season home in Southern California.

I think Max Biaggi is one of the most important motorcycle racers of his time.

Sad and happy to hear this news. Sad that I wont see his beautiful, smooth style on the Aprilia for another SBK season. But happy that he is going out at the top of his game, and with his health, and as World Champion. You can't ask for more than that at 41 years old eh !

But the $64 dollar question: Who are James Whitam and Jack Burnicle (Eurosport commentators) going to take the piss out now every race, now that Max has gone ? Those two old women will have to find someone else to slag off, now.

Thanks for the Memories Max - a worthy World Champ and a true Legend of the Sport.

If you're referring to the commentators i think you are, then f*** those guys. They are the worst commentators I've ever heard. As for your question, they LOVE to pick on Guigliano (possibly spelled wrong, am on a phone), whom they constantly call a "big lumox."

Jack and James are great commentators. Try watching some races on speed TV for some perspective.

I remember one time Francis Bata was looking upset and Jack goes - oh go on, Francis, have another cheeseburger!

In the same way I'll take Max over just about any other rider for his unique character. In this age of corporate energy drink waving glasses of white milk he will be missed for his swashbuckler attitude as much as his racing.

Thanks for the fun Max!

just to give an example about Max, they have been asking over and over why his symbol was a black flag having no clue about the meaning of the word 'corsaro'. Maybe it is a bad 'joke' repeated too many times, maybe they just miss doing their homework. Either way, they are annoying or unprofessional.

Never had to watch speed TV - and from what you write, I should probably consider myself very lucky - but I would have Charlie and Steve commenting also the Super Bike hands down.

Anyway, I guess it is just about taste. If you really want to see something beyond imagination for bad taste and unprofessional conduct, listen to the Italian MotoGP (future Super Bike) commentator Guido Meda...

I enjoy listening to them a lot, i really dig their humor. James knows a thing or two about riding a motorcycle, Jack is great at keeping boring passages entertaining.
For me, they are my favourite commentators in motorcycle racing.


"But the $64 dollar question: Who are James Whitam and Jack Burnicle (Eurosport commentators) going to take the piss out now every race, now that Max has gone ? Those two old women will have to find someone else to slag off, now."

Perfect (and hysterical).

I suspect Melandri will be the bad guy next year - or whoever finishes in front of Sykes, Davies or Haslam.

I read an interview with Laverty in a Brit newspaper that may have been the funniest, most pathetically provincial thing I've read in a long time.

BikeSportNews' coverage of the Aprilia team over the past few days illustrates exactly what I mean.

Number of words devoted to Eugene Laverty's opinion about the importance of doing well next season in WSBK: 164.

Number of words devoted to the retirement of Biaggi, one of the legends of this sport: 118.


If you don't like the publication, and they don't say what you want to hear about your pets, then why read it? There are plenty of other publications that will stroke your opinions if you look for them.

Are you kidding? BSN is one of my favorite humor sites. They are SO biased that reading it is one of the best chuckles I get every day. I'm sure the Italian and Spanish sites are just as biased, as is Dean at Superbikeplanet most of the time, but I can't read Italian or Spanish. I'm only fluent in English and Profanity.

I read BSN every day to see what they say about THEIR "pets" and giggle over their world view. People say a Spanish passport protects you in MotoGP, but in the world of BSN, if you don't have a U.K. passport, you basically don't exist.

And it really is funny to read.

Max, was a complex character who added a great deal of interest to both MotoGp and WSBK, I for one will be sad to see him go but applaud his (very smart) decision to go on his terms and with his health.

I sometimes wonder if a great part of Max's allegedly difficult nature was simply due to the media's fascination with both a great rider(V. Rossi),his ability to charm the media and the media's need to have a villain.

Sounds a bit like the story of a recent champion who is leaving motorcycle racing dissolutioned with racing. I suspect partly by the failure of a media's and fans to acknowledge his achievements simply because he dared to challenge their God.

In some fairness to those involved they have very belatedly and sometimes begrudgingly admitted their error, or in some cases attempted to rewrite their history to reflect themselves in a better light.

Have to agree with the above. I was never a huge fan (influenced by what I heard he was like rather than knowing him), but this is a classy way to go and , for me, he overcame most of his MGP bad press by riding so well in WSB - even if it was a classy bike/team too!
It will be interesting to hear Melandri's reaction!

If Guintoli could get the ride it would be good (hopefully a well-paid dream for him) - rumour has it that Althea may be running the bikes with no actual factory effort next year, as Ducati and BMW have done before/for 2013. If so that would give Giuliano a nice bike to ride for Althea and add the Italian flavour.

Mixed emotions for me, too. Max was a large part of the reason I became interested in motorcycle racing and it's strange to think of a future without him on the track.
But, since it had to end sometime, I'm pleased that it's ended at what seems to be a pretty satisfactory point. Thanks, Max.

Always leave them wanting more
Always leave on a high note
Always leave knowing you were still as good as anyone

..and then there were only two old school 500 riders left.

God bess ya Max..thanks for the memories.

Never liked him much for his attitude but a great rider. Nice to see him leaving at the top. His first season in 500 was memorable another piece of the old school goes away....

I started being a fan of Max around 95 I think. At the time, I liked the sound of his name and thats why I wanted to support him (I was 8)! I watched him race at the time against Harada, Waldman, Capirossi et al and all through his 500/MGP days. He was great to watch but also had so many painful days! Lorenzo reminds me of him alot, especially his style and smooth movements on the bike. Except that Lorenzo never seems to crash anymore whereas Max tended to get forced into mistakes too often. It made his wins all the better. Lorenzo is like Max Mk2.
His years in WSB have been some of his best. I saw him in Donnington that year (also the day another of my racing heros, Troy Bayliss, lost a finger and a nut), he could have won Race 2 but but ran wide at the last corner and let Haga through! Didn't get to meet him that day but hopefully some day.

My two all-time favorite racers retiring at the end of the year! I guess I will follow E.Laverty & Dani next year.
I wonder will either Casey or Max write an autobiography? They would be two books on my Xmas list for sure.

I think at some point every tries to like Max. Even love him, but then he always does something to change your mind. That is the part I like. He's not perfect or too polished. But he always picked himself up and dusted off his leathers. He's had to eat crow more than once but it bounces off him like bullets off Superman.
Fans just shake their heads in disbelieve and keep watching.

I will miss him but glad he is leaving on a high note and was on the correct correct team. Ciao Max.

Way to go. At the top. All the best Max. Fond memories of Welkom 2004. Junior was reaching his zenith and Senior was heading for his sell by date.
My,how history repeats itself.

Max Biaggi. What can be said that has not already been said. Never liked him. Heard all kinds of things about him, then watched him in action at Laguna, a little too caught up in himself. Always wanted to be loved like Rossi, but had the arrogant attitude that was born from the 1980s. An attitude that has tapered down with maturity. He no longer seems to be so bad.

Always respected his riding ability. He made every race where he was battling for the lead worth watching. Whether you wanted him to win or lose. Welkom and Germany were two races in 2004 that come to mind. He lost one and won the other, (Valentino Rossi almost crashing trying to beat him.)

Love him or not, Max has a huge place in racing history. He will be missed. Wish him all the best in retirement.

Between 1992 and 2012, Max Biaggi has been 18 times in the top 5 of a world championship...

Great style, great warrior ... and too many mistakes to be a legend :)

Not one mention of Biaggi's awesome, nearly catastrophic victory wheelie! ☺ The thing was almost past vertical before he stomped on the rear brake! Unfortunately, I don't remember which race that was. Also, I remember on another one of his wins he had quite a lead, and was pulling victory rolling stoppies before he'd even his finished his last lap, or even gotten near the final straight! His team manager was shown looking ill with fear that he was going to bin it. :) Sadly, don't remember where that one either.

Biaggi was an awesome racer.

Sorry to see him leave WSB; seems to have found himself after a dismay time on the GP circuit. Think that the rise of fellow Italian Rossi unnerved him, plus Rossi certainly got in his head. Great racing style on the Aprilia, though not error free at the most inopportune times. Cio Max

Ciao, Corsair. On a good day, Max could beat Doohan or Rossi in a straight fight - when everyone else would show up already beaten. To see his career bloom in its twilight was awesome for us aging scrappers who just aren't ready to trade in our knee pucks for satin jackets and headsets and Gold Wings just yet.

He leaves wealthy, healthy, two fabulous kids and with a Miss Italy on his arm.

And oh yeah, six-time world champ, and reigning champ at 41!

And thanks again, Max, for the best world championship t-shirt ever:

Max was a true champion, one ride I will never forget was race two at Phillip Island this year. After running off at turn one and being tailed off last, the way Max carved his way through the field to finish second was incredible, have a great retirement Max, you deserve it.

Phenomenal rider on his day but a total obnoxious arse. I followed him and admired him for years but when i approached him at Donington 2 years ago for a photo, he told me to f*ck off! What an arrogant w*nker, so from that day to seeing the news yesterday, i despised him and still do to a certain extent.
What sort of person says he won't sign a contract to race for a factory (Yamaha) unless they buy him a grand piano for his apartment? Max. Fair play to him, he got it but what a diva.
Max's biggest problem has been that whichever championship he rode in, he thought and believed he was bigger than IT. He acted like the whole championship revolved around him but it didn't, and that attitude got him booted out of MotoGp and well justified too because you don't bite the hand that feeds you. Honda did the right thing in forcing you into exile......
How about Aprilia putting Alex Lowes on his bike being as team WFR have shut up shop.

>>What sort of person says he won't sign a contract to race for a factory (Yamaha) unless they buy him a grand piano for his apartment?

A piano playing motorcyle racer? Never heard of a signing bonus before? Yamaha make grand pianos so they would not have to 'buy' one.

>>Max's biggest problem has been that whichever championship he rode in, he thought and believed he was bigger than IT. He acted like the whole championship revolved around him

Yea, how dare he act like Rossi.


Without Max burning all bridges at Honda there would not have been an opportunity for Lucio Checcinello to make a team with a satellite bike and bring Stoner to MotoGP. Sure he may have made it eventually, but without that end of 2005 shake up, it wouldn't have happened how it did. The stars aligned, with a nudge from Max's ego.

Motorcycle Racers and professional Boxers have a similar traits in which there skills depend on technical form , reflexes and timing . In both cases at the top level age can hit them quickly. The Riders/Boxers reflexes & timing can be at 100% then 3 months later the ...alarm clock ... as they call it , goes off and there reflexes/timing are on the downside.

Biaggis time clock had gone off before he had even entered WSBK. He made timing mistakes over shooting corners and his reflexes where not what they used to be as he couldnt manuver through switchbacks like he could when he was a younger man.

But.. though determination, Incredable natural riding skill and the use of the classic heavy lean european riding style Biaggi was able to defy father time and not only compeat at 42/43 but to win 2 WSBK titles. IMHO to win 2 WSBK titles is impressive enough, but to do so at his age is one for the record books.

Honestly, I think the Aprilia is harder to ride than some of the other bikes in the field. How many times did Davies throw it down the road this year, and how hard did Laverty and Camier find getting to the front on it?

Still, this reminds me of the comment a friend made when Hopkins came back to race in the AMA. He said, "If Hopper is 90 percent of the rider he once was, that'll be plenty fast enough to win races here." And experience and savvy can make up for a bit of that raw edge being worn smooth by time.

Sadly, Hopkins was not fit to ride a motorcycle, and should have taken that year off, in my opinion.

>>He made timing mistakes over shooting corners

What was the excuse when younger riders wold overshoot a corner? Max isn't exactly the only WSB rider to run wide or crash a few times.

>>he couldnt manuver through switchbacks like he could when he was a younger man.

Are you comparing him going through switchbacks on a 250GP or any GP bike with 1000cc streetbike? Not only is the bike weight increase dramatic but a GP bike is drastically more maneuverable than a WSBK production based machine.

I'm sure a lot of the younger guys would be happy to have Max's (or Checa's or Bayliss') current level of reflexes and timing. I think Max and Troy were smart in retiring _before_ that alarm clock went off.