Whichever hemisphere the World Superbike riders choose to test, finding somewhere warm and dry remains an almost impossible task. While BMW, Suzuki and Honda shelter from the rain in Portugal, Aprilia and Yamaha are circulating in less than ideal conditions at Phillip Island in Australia. Though the track was dry, Max Biaggi described conditions as "like winter," according to GPOne.com.
On Tuesday, Miller Motorsports Park organized its final teleconference of the year with the stars of the World Superbike championship. This time, it was the turn of Max Biaggi to talk, and he fielded questions from the press on a range of subjects, from the role of electronics in World Superbikes, on the development of the Aprilia RSV4, on his thoughts on retiring, and on the prospect of a return to MotoGP. Here's what Biaggi had to say:
Moderator: Good morning, everybody. Thank you for joining us today. My name is John Gardner, and I am the Media Manager for Miller Motorsports Park. This will be our final teleconference of the year with riders from the Superbike World Championship. Today, we're happy to have the 2010 Superbike World Champion, Max Biaggi, with us. Max, as you know, won 10 races this year, riding the No. 3 Aprilia RSV4 1000F for Aprilia Alitalia Racing. He swept the weekends here at Miller Motorsports Park as well as at Misano, Monza and Portimao. He also had single victories at his favorite track, Brno, as well as at Magny-Cours.
So Max, welcome, again.
Max Biaggi: Yeah, well, hi. Thank you. Thank you. How are you?
Moderator: Good. And congratulations on your championship.
Max Biaggi: Yeah. I'm very, very proud and happy for myself, of course. But we know a lot of people were involved in this project who helped make it possible.
Moderator: It's the off-season now. What are you doing during the off-season?
Max Biaggi: Well, I'm checking out a few things, getting ready for traveling to the test at the end of this month. We're going to test in Australia, so I'm preparing a few things to be ready.
Moderator: And you've re-signed with Aprilia for another two years, so that's good news.
After the huge success of the past two years, the Motomatters.com 2011 Motorcycle Racing Calendar is about to hit the printing presses. To expedite shipping and the organizational challenges we face, we're ready to start taking orders for the calendars, so we can ship them out to you as soon as we receive them.
Testing continued on Thursday for the World Superbike grid at the Motorland Aragon circuit, and with Carlos Checa having taken his leave early to head to Estoril for an outing aboard the Pramac Ducati MotoGP bike, it was Max Biaggi's turn to top the timesheets. Biaggi took nearly seven tenths of his time from Wednesday, after having spent the session testing new brakes from Brembo. The Italian judged them to be a big improvement, but the increase in braking power made the bike difficult to control on the brakes. More setup work will be required, according to the Italian, which will continue tomorrow.
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 World Superbike rider carousel kicked into high gear around the final WSBK round at Magny-Cours, but there was one notable name absent from the flurry of contract signings. Despite having wrapped up the 2010 World Superbike title the weekend before, Max Biaggi kept remarkably silent on his future plans, leading to speculation that the Roman Emperor might even be considering retirement.
Biaggi himself dismissed talk of retirement, though he refused to comment on what his intentions might be. With every factory seat but one taken in WSBK, though, there was little debate about where he would end up: Back at Aprilia, with the factory that had brought him his first WSBK title, and his first championship in 13 years. The question was surely just a matter of when the new contract would be announced.
After the final World Superbike round of the 2010 season, news has inevitably started to filter out of Magny-Cours about the shape of 2011. There were official announcements, cryptic hints and barroom gossip concerning who will be doing what for next year in World Superbikes and World Supersport. A round up of the latest rumors is given below:
A variety of Italian sources are reporting that WSBK championship points leader Max Biaggi will extend his stay at the factory Alitalia Aprilia team until 2012. A move to a rival team was never really considered a serious possibility, but the parties were said to be haggling over compensation. All that has been resolved, according to reports, with Biaggi agreeing to a salary of one million Euro per annum, which would probably make the Roman Emperor the highest paid rider in the series. All that remains is for Biaggi to sign on the dotted line. Aprilia is also reportedly keen to retain the services of the current BSB champion Leon Camier.
With MotoGP due to head to Assen in just over a week, here's a taster from the World Superbike round back in April. Friend of MotoMatters.com Michel Hulshof of Sports Photography used his expert local knowledge to grab some beautiful shots from the two WSBK races. Michel grew up just a stone's throw away from the iconic Dutch circuit, and it shows. You can see more of his work on his website, or you can follow him on Twitter, under the user name @ProNikon.