The current World Superbike champion, Max Biaggi, has made the decision to retire from the sport, twenty years after beginning his illustrious (and sometimes controversial) career.
Biaggi made his first Grand Prix appearance in 1992 aged twenty, going on to win twenty-nine races and four titles with Aprilia and Honda. The Premier 500cc/MotoGP class followed, with fifteen victories aboard a Yamaha and then a Honda. These were the years where his rivalry with Valentino Rossi was at its best and the sport was at its height in popularity as fans watched on the edge of their seats to see the duo fight for supremacy. By the end of 2005, Biaggi was forced to leave MotoGP under a cloud, sitting out 2006 before joining World Superbikes in 2007.
He won his debut race in that category for Alstare Suzuki, finishing his first season in third place overall. The next year saw him switch to satellite team, Sterilgardo Ducati. It wasn’t long, though, before he headed back to Aprilia, heading up the team’s factory comeback with their new RSV4. A 2009 win was followed up with ten victories and the first of two World Superbike titles in 2010. Carlos Checa managed to steal his crown in the 2011 season, but by the end of 2012, he proved he had what it took once more, taking the title by a tiny half a point from Tom Sykes. Speaking of his decision, Biaggi said;
‘It’s my choice. I had a new contract offer from Aprilia – same bike, same money – but I think I’ve taken enough time from my children and my wife.’