Just yesterday, Valentino Rossi announced that he would be retiring from motorcycle racing in 2021.
Those who are fans of this sport are still getting used to the idea that we won’t be able to sit on the couch every Sunday and watch the races with Il Dottore wearing the number 46 on his fairing.
Still, we will have to get used to the idea because time passes for everyone, even the greatest of all time.
During that meteoric trajectory, Rossi faced formidable opponents, all of whom he needed to triumph over to establish his legend.
Max Biaggi was one of the first and of greatest of his athletes that he had.
He, along with his countryman, was a star in fights that are still remembered in the paddock and are still present in the retinas of fans who were alive during that period at the beginning of the century.
After providing some context and an explanation of who Max Biaggi is, it is time to give the career review he deserves.
For this purpose, we will discuss his beginnings on two wheels, the great moments he left for posterity on the circuits, and what projects he is involved in now that he has hung up his helmet.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of things.
On June 26, 1971, Massimiliano Biaggi, better known as Max Biaggi to his close circle of friends and fans of motorcycle racing, was born in Rome.
Motorcycles had always piqued his interest, but he could not pursue his passion until he reached the age where he was legally permitted to do so.
Even though soccer and Rome were both things that interested him, he was more enthusiastic about motorcycles.
Because of this, his parents decided to surprise him with an Aprilia RS 125 on the day he turned 17 years old.
On the track of the Eternal City, Vallelunga, he rendered two friends of his youth speechless while riding a motorcycle; consequently, it was from this experience that he derived the inspiration to compete, which he would subsequently carry out.
He took first place in the Italian 125 cubic centimeter sports production championship when he was only 18 years old.
After achieving early success, he competed in the quarter-liter category, where he won the European Championship for the second time in 1991.
He did it with an Aprilia RS250, the same motorcycle he used to make his debut in the Motorcycle World Championship in the same year, precisely among the best riders on the planet.
During the European Grand Prix, which was run on the Jarama track, the car made its debut (Madrid, Spain).
His debut was less than stellar because he could not cross the finish line, but he had the opportunity to make amends in France, Great Britain, and San Marino.
Consequently, he finished in the twelfth position in Misano after signing for a thirteenth place in the race on French soil.
The following step that needed to be taken was more than obvious: to establish himself in MotoGP among the best drivers in the intermediate class.
Between 1992 and 1997, the 250cc class was the only one in which Max Biaggi competed; in this category, he demonstrated his superiority over the competition.
It did not take long for him to earn his first podium finish, which came at his home track of Mugello during the Italian Grand Prix, which took place on the fifth date of the season.
He finished in third place, a position he would replicate in the race immediately following it at Montmeló.
At Hockenheim and Interlagos, he worked his way up to the second place and capped off the season with his first World Championship victory at Welkom (in South Africa).
It was a portent of things to come in the years that followed, as evidenced by the fact that he improved his score with Honda the following year, and then between 1994 and 1997, he won the championship for Aprilia after switching back to them.
The Italian brand was included with the first three titles, while the Japanese brand was included with the final title.
To be more specific, the house of the golden wing was supposed to race alongside him in the 500cc premier class.
The arrival of Max Biaggi in the 500cc class, the premier course of the competition at the time, is one of the things that people remember most about the 1998 MotoGP World Championship.
It was a dream start for a first-time driver as he won his first race at Suzuka while setting the fastest lap and taking the pole position.
After that, some people may have thought that Mick Doohan’s reign was ending, but Biaggi struggled with immaturity in front of the Honda leader and had to settle for the runner-up position in the race.
To honor the memory he left behind by doing that impressive wheelie in Brno after he won his second and final victory in 1998.
To this day, the viral video shows him raising the front wheel of his bike to infinity.
In 1999, he decided to switch teams and signed with Yamaha. However, due to the brand of the tuning forks that Yamaha used, he was unable to compete in the championship during that season.
This was even though Doohan was not competing due to a spectacular crash leading to his retirement from the sport.
The following season, he had four wrecks in the first five races, so he appeared unable to do anything.
However, the truth is that he recovered sufficiently to move up to third place in the standings at the end of the season.
Even though he had already collided with Valentino Rossi in the year 2000, the two did not start actively competing against each other until the year 2001.
Biaggi cornered the 46th on the main straight during the first race at Suzuka; Rossi exacted his revenge a few laps later by combing his hair after passing Biaggi and getting ahead of him.
Some people believe the three wanted revenge on Rossi for the mockery directed at him because of his relationship with Naomi Campbell.
Another argument took place during the race in Barcelona, and according to what Biaggi revealed much later, the source of the conflict was the fact that more members of Valentino’s team staff were present in the closed park and on the path leading up to the podium ceremony than was permitted by the rules.
In addition, he mentioned that Rossi’s manager, Gibo Badioli, cut him in the face because the access ladder to the podium platform was so narrow.
Badiou was cutting him while carrying Rossi’s case with his visor open. A circumstance that roused our main character’s ire.
From a purely sporting perspective, he could not defeat Rossi in either 2001 or 2002, the year that the MotoGP name was introduced and the year in which he finished in second place with Yamaha.
Il Dottore was unbeatable, and if it weren’t for him, Biaggi would have won the championship in the premier class as well.
After that, he was never able to fight side by side with Valentino except on rare occasions, such as that duel in the final laps of Welkom 2004, where he made his debut with Yamaha, and Mugello 2005 when he came within a hair’s breadth of beating him after a chase of several laps with his Honda.
However, he could never fight with Valentino except on rare occasions.
Max Biaggi took a year off from racing in 2006 because he could not agree with his team regarding his future, but in 2007 he decided to compete in the World Superbike Championship.
He did this with a brand that he had never ridden for in MotoGP, Suzuki, and he replaced one of the competition’s references, Troy Corser, with himself.
Replicating his outstanding performance in the 500cc class for the first time, he won the first race in Losail (Qatar).
The transition to his new category did not present any challenges whatsoever for the Corsair, who finished in the top three positions a total of 17 times out of 25 races and won three of those races.
However, Suzuki was unable to secure its primary sponsor and, as a result, decided to place a higher priority on its participation in MotoGP.
As a result, he was terminated at the end of the year. Despite this, he successfully landed a position at Ducati, specifically in the Sterilgarda Go Eleven structure.
Only in 2009 did he compete under the Borgo Panigale brand, and he could not achieve at least the same level of success as he did in his first year of Superbike competition.
He completed the arc of his athletic career with Aprilia, the brand that had been there for him from the beginning of his career.
With it, he has been crowned a two-time champion thanks to the fact that, on the one hand, he won 10 races and finished on the podium 14 times in 2010, and on the other hand, he won 5 races and finished on the podium ten times in 2012.
After winning that championship, he announced his retirement, but he returned to compete in some races later on as a wild card.
Even though he is no longer competing as a rider, he is still connected to motorcycle racing because he owns the Max Racing Team, which competes in Moto3.
However, because of a legal dispute with the former German rider Peter Ottl over the ownership of the team, he was removed from the structure in 2022, and as a result, the organization’s name will need to be changed.
During the time that he has served as the leader of this team affiliated with the Husqvarna factory, he has seen John McPhee and Aaron Canet bring home several victories.
However, he has also been involved in controversies, such as when he fired Alonso Lopez before the beginning of the 2021 season, even though he had previously renewed his contract with Lopez.
According to the rider who was adversely affected, Biaggi decided to sign Adrián Fernández, Ral’s brother who rides in MotoGP, because he brought more sponsorship and, in a nutshell, money.
A fact that tarnishes the extra-sporting image of a myth associated with motorcycling, which, with any luck, he will be able to rectify in the future with the new projects that are brought to his attention.
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