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Massimiliano "Max" Biaggi (born June 26, 1971 in Rome, Italy) is a motorcycle racer who currently resides in Monaco and in the United States. Biaggi is also known as the Roman Emperor and Mad Max and is notorious for his difficult relationship with the press, team personnel and other riders.
Biaggi was more interested in soccer as a child. But in 1989, after he was given an Aprilia RS125 for his seventeeth birthday, he began his racing career in the 125cc class at age eighteen. In 1990 he won the Italian Sport Production Championship. Following his success in 125cc, Biaggi moved up to the 250cc class.
In 1991, Biaggi became the European champion on an Aprilia RS250, and that same year he finished twenty-seventh in the Grand Prix motorcycle 250cc world championship riding for the same manufacturer. In 1992, Biaggi completed his first entire season in 250cc Grand Prix for Aprilia, and finished the season fifth overall. In that same season he took his first victory in Kyalami, South Africa. The following season, Biaggi joined Honda, and finished fourth in the championship standings, including a single victory in Barcelona. In 1994 he returned to Aprilia and dominated the 250cc Grand Prix championship by winning three consecutive titles in 1994, 1995 and 1996. In 1997, Biaggi again returned to Honda, riding for Erv Kanemoto's team, and won his fourth consecutive title. Following that, he moved up to the 500cc class.
Biaggi made an impressive start in his 500cc debut, qualifying on pole, setting the fastest lap and winning his first race in the 1998 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, riding for the Kanemoto Honda team. He was also victorious at the Czech Republic Grand Prix and finished the season in second place behind the legendary Mick Doohan. Biaggi then joined Yamaha to battle against the dominant Hondas. He finished fourth in 1999, third in 2000, and second in 2001.
In 2002, Biaggi rode the four-stroke for the first time as development on the new motorcycle remained strong throughout the season. He won in Brno, Czech Republic and Sepang, Malaysia to clinch runner-up in the championship behind rival Valentino Rossi. In 2003, Biaggi finished third in the MotoGP championship after rejoining Honda on the Camel Pramac Pons team. It was expected that Biaggi would be one of the main candidates for the title in 2004, but a crash in Estoril saw his season begin to fade. At the end of the 2004 MotoGP season Biaggi finished the championship in third place, behind Sete Gibernau and series winner, Rossi.
Biaggi started the 2005 MotoGP season as an official factory Honda rider, joining American racer Nicky Hayden on the Repsol Honda Team with technical director Erv Kanemoto. It was hoped that continued cooperation with Kanemoto and the full factory support from Honda would make Biaggi one of the main title contenders in 2005. However, Biaggi finished the season fifth in the championship with only 173 points (series winner Rossi finished with 367).
Biaggi lost his ride for the 2006 season, his position filled by 2005 250cc Grand Prix champion, Dani Pedrosa. He negotiated with Honda, Kawasaki, and Suzuki, however, was unable to land a contract even with the backing of major tobacco sponsor Camel. On January 10, 2006, Biaggi posted on his website that he would not take part in the 2006 MotoGP season.
Biaggi got his first chance to test a Formula One car on January 19 1999 when he tested Michael Schumacher's Ferrari F300 at Ferrari's test track Fiorano in Italy. The test was a gift from Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo after Biaggi had won his first 500cc race in 1998.
On the January 18, 2006, Biaggi got another chance to test a Formula One racecar, this time it was the Midland MF1 car at Silverstone. Whether this was a one-off test with MF1 Racing or the first step towards a seat with the team is unknown .
Biaggi attempted to reached an agreement to race the World Superbike championship for Corona Alstare Suzuki in 2006, but the team could not commit to equal equipment with their existing riders, 2005 champion Troy Corser and Yukio Kagayama. As a result, he took a sabbatical, but on September 14, 2006, Biaggi announced he had signed to replace Corser in the team for 2007.
Biaggi began the season by winning the first race at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar and finishing second in race two. In doing so Max Biaggi became one of only five men to win their first World Superbike Race, and the only rider ever to win his first Superbike race and his first race in 500cc Grand Prix. He then finished 3rd and 4th at Philip Island, Australia.
Throughout his career, Biaggi is best known for his heated rivalry with compatriot Valentino Rossi and other riders. In 1997, he was rumored to be dating supermodel, Naomi Campbell as they were seen boarding the same aircraft separately. This led to insults by Rossi when he appeared on the podium to produce a blonde blow up doll that vaguely resembled Claudia Schiffer to poke fun at the relationship. At the 2001 Spanish GP, the two riders came to blows following the race. There was an attempt to cover up the fight from the press but it was soon revealed.
- MaxBiaggi.com - Official site