After a racing career that spanned 20-plus years and garnered six World Championships (four World 250cc Grand Prix and two World Superbike), Massimiliano “Max” Biaggi has decided to call it day. The 41-year-old Italian announced his retirement at a press conference at the Vallelunga circuit near his birthplace of Rome. “Everything began here, and everything will end here,” said Biaggi (alluding to the fact that his racing career started at the circuit back in 1989 on a 125cc production bike), according to Italian racing website gpone.com. Biaggi reportedly had the opportunity to continue for another one or two years, but chose to retire and walk away from the sport healthy and injury-free. "The choice was between stopping, or racing for another one or two years. In the end I decided to walk away, and my family was an important factor. The time has come to dedicate my time to them. I don't want this to be a sad day; I'm not stopping because I'm no longer competitive, but because I want to stop. I had a contract ready to sign, so it was a difficult decision, but not a forced one. Many riders have suffered serious injuries during their careers, and I'm lucky to walk away healthy.”
Interestingly, Biaggi will continue his relationship with Aprilia, but not in a racing sense. "I'm thinking about a collaboration with Aprilia, but it won't be tied to racing. You will have news about that soon. It's nice to leave as the number 1, and to have written some important pages in the motorcycle racing history books.”
With Biaggi’s retirement, it’s likely that his seat will be filled by Sylvain Guintoli, who walked out on a verbal agreement with the Crescent Suzuki squad presumably because he was offered Biaggi’s seat if the Italian chose to hang up his leathers.