Eurosport TV has just reported that Max Biaggi, The Roman Emperor, is back in MotoGP for 2007. Kawasaki is reported to have signed the Roman for next season, despite Biaggi already having signed with the Alstare Corona Suzuki World Superbike team for next year. This is a double blow for Alstare Suzuki team manager Francis Batta, who also learned this weekend that Troy Corser, the man being demoted to a second string bike to make way for Biaggi, is leaving to join the Yamaha Italia Superbike team.
Biaggi's return will be welcomed by many MotoGP fans, as Biaggi has a huge fan following, especially in Italy. It will also likely be very welcome to Kawasaki, as Biaggi has always had very strong, and very generous, personal sponsors. There is a very good chance that Biaggi might be bringing in the JTI/ Camel money, as Biaggi has a long relationship with Camel, indeed, Honda's refusal to give Biaggi a bike for 2006 was instrumental in Camel withdrawing their sponsorship of Sito Pons' team for the 2006 season.
The question of how Biaggi will fare on the Kawasaki is another matter: Biaggi is known to be very hard on his teams, though equally hard on himself. Although undoubtedly very talented, he is a fractious personality to work with, and is not shy with his opinions of the machinery he is riding.
Biaggi's move to Kawasaki means that Shinya Nakano is almost certain to move to Konica Minolta Honda for next season.
UPDATED: The source of this story is said to be Colin Wright, team boss of the GSE Ducati British Superbikes team. Stay tuned ...
UPDATED AGAIN: The Dutch website Racesport.nl is running a story quoting people from FGSports and Alstare Corona flatly denying the story. Francis Batta is quoted as saying:
Max Biaggi has signed a contract to ride for our team in 2007, and the rumors that he also had a contract to ride in MotoGP are nothing more than a fairy tale.