Biaggi's First Day Of Ducati Testing: A Lot To Learn After Seven Years Away

Max Biaggi is back on a MotoGP machine, for the first time since he lost his ride at the end of the 2005 season. The reigning World Superbike champion took to the track at Mugello today to test Ben Spies' Pramac Ducati, and get a feel for a MotoGP machine again. Biaggi was invited to ride the bike by Ducati, mainly just as a friendly gesture towards an old rider, but in part also to give his input on riding the bike. With Spies still absent recovering from his shoulder injury, putting Biaggi on the bike was an interesting prospect. Because of Biaggi's Italian connections, he rode Spies bike, but with bodywork from Iannone's Energy.TI bike

In a series of posts on his Twitter feed, Biaggi took some time getting up to speed on the machine. An enormous amount has changed since Biaggi last rode a V5 990cc Honda RC211V back in 2005, all of which take a lot of getting used to. The spec Bridgestone tires and the amount of electronic rider aids are two of the biggest changes, though the electronics on the factory Aprilia RSV4 WSBK machine are already highly sophisticated. The tires, though, are totally different to what Biaggi was used to, Bridgestone having made huge steps forward in grip, durability and stiffness in the intervening period, the tires offering much more performance than the Michelins Biaggi used in the past, but also being less compliant. The difference in performance between 2005 and 2013 is huge: Dani Pedrosa's pole record (1'47.157) is over two seconds faster now than the record (1'49.223) set by Valentino Rossi eight years ago, and Marc Marquez' race lap record (1'47.639) is two and a half seconds quicker than Max Biaggi's from 2005 (1'50.117). According to GPOne.com, one of the biggest challenges Biaggi faced was getting used to carbon disk brakes once again, having raced using steel disks during his time in World Superbikes.

Biaggi's lap times caused something of a stir, but for the wrong reasons. The Italian website Motoblog.it had spies posted around the track, one of whom had a stopwatch to time the laps. Unfortunately, due to the distance from the track and the fact that Biaggi was riding a bike in the same colors as Andrea Iannone, the website erroneously reported the time of one of Iannone's laps as that set by Biaggi. There was some consternation that Biaggi would be lapping in the 1'49.7s, which would have been an outstanding time given his long absence from MotoGP. However, the 1'49.7 belonged to Andrea Iannone, Biaggi lapping at a much more sedate pace in the 1'55s, with his fastest lap a 1'54, according to GPOne.com, who had reporter Luca Semprini present at the test.

Biaggi is of course not alone at the test. Andrea Iannone is there testing the Ducati lab bike for the first time, and according to GPOne.com, improved on his best time of the race weekend on his standard Pramac GP13. Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso are circulating on the latest version of Ducati's lab bike, along with test riders Michele Pirro and Franco Battaini. There is no official word from Ducati on how the tests are going, but a press release is likely to be issued on Friday.

Biaggi's first day of testing ended early on Thursday afternoon. The rain which had been threatening finally started to fall shortly after 3pm. The test continues tomorrow, and Biaggi is expected to try the bike once again.

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Comments

On first reading I couldn't quite figure out how come Italian website Motoblog.it had Ben Spies posted at the track with a stopwatch to time the laps.

Total votes: 143

I had to read the sentence thrice before it hit me..

Total votes: 123

1'55s would put him about three seconds behind the slowest CRT bike.

Then again, if you look at FP2, the first dry practice session, the slowest CRT bike did 1'54.829.

It'll be interesting to see how much time Max shaves off tomorrow.

Total votes: 135

nothing surprising considering getting back on speed for just a few hours, never been racing the 2 wheels for months, and not getting on a GP bike for years... how many riders above 40s can do this???? this is what special about him that I like!

Total votes: 139

Off the pace, yeah he was testing alright, to prove how slow he and that bag of crap really is.
Read the story properly, Ben Spies was not the spy, it was desperate reporters trying to find a scoop with the hope the poison dwarf throws the pigati into the weeds, all this is, is a PR exercise for him and pigati.
It was only the red people who were sad enough to let him ride that heap in the MGP paddock because Honda and Yamaha would not give him that chance.
Why do i despise biaggi so much you ask?
I approached him at Donington a couple of years ago and asked for a picture and autograph and he told me to fuck off!! Yes very true. So from then on i have disliked him and everything about him.
So for me to see him on a pigati in MGP paddock is not big news.. Bigger news if Rossi moved over to the WSB paddock no?

Total votes: 138