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Crash.net's Top 10 WSBK Riders - 3rd

Max Biaggi puts Aprilia back on top of the World Superbike podium in 2009 as the Roman enjoys a revival with the returning Italian manufacturer
Occasionally outspoken, usually charismatic, always passionate, Max Biaggi tends to divide opinion in the World Superbike paddock, but few can deny he was a star performer this season.

Regardless of its own rich motorcycling history, Biaggi's illustrious past and the suggestions the RSV-4 was a racing bike first, production bike second, Aprilia went well beyond expectations in 2009.

Having announced its return to WSBK competition in 2007, Aprilia embarked on a fairly low-profile period of development before finally making its public debut towards the end of last year. With the lap times varying wildly as the start of the season approached, few were any the wiser as to whether the RSV-4 would be competitive.

Biaggi swiftly answered those questions at the opening round, qualifying a remarkable second on the grid and only being denied a podium by a final lap error. Making amends in Qatar with a brace of third place finishes, the Biaggi-Aprilia pair up seemed to be a match made in heaven.

While Biaggi would have to wait until Donington Park to climb onto the rostrum again, it was a result that would unleash the RSV-4's true potential, the Roman going on to claim a stunning victory at Brno – the manufacturer's first at this level in eight years – and a further five podiums.

Much like Jonathan Rea – whom Biaggi beat by just four points in the fight for fourth overall -, Biaggi was muscling his way up the World Superbike hierarchy as the season wore on to eventually be considered a regular victory threat.

With Biaggi seemingly enjoying his racing again, he has plenty of reason to be excited about the RSV-4's potential. Indeed, Aprilia arrived at nearly every circuit on the back foot as they established their data from scratch, yet Biaggi was more often than not a front-runner by qualifying.

Furthermore, the apparent speed advantage of the compact bike has been noted, while its remarkable reliability (Biaggi suffered just one DNF) suggests Aprilia have struck a perfect balance between performance and durability.

Save for some handling and braking qualms, Aprilia are armed with a potent package – and Biaggi seems exactly the right man to get the most from it.

Statistics:

Team: Aprilia Racing
Bike: Aprilia RSV-4

Championship position: 4th
Points: 319

Race starts: 28
Pole positions: 0
Victories: 1
Podiums: 9
Best results: 1st (Brno)
Points finishes: 26

Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2008: 8th

Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2009:

4 - Jonathan Rea
5 - Leon Haslam
6 - Michel Fabrizio
7 - Regis Laconi
8 - Jakub Smrz
9 - Troy Corser
10 - Shane Byrne


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Biaggi, Portuguese WSBK Race 1 2009
Biaggi, Portuguese WSBK Race 1 2009
Biaggi, Portuguese WSBK 2009
Biaggi, Portuguese WSBK 2009
Biaggi, Portuguese WSBK 2009
Biaggi, Portuguese WSBK 2009
Biaggi, Czech WSBK Race 2 2009
Eugene Laverty Aprilia Jerez Test
Biaggi, Misano WSBK 2016
Biaggi, Misano WSBK 2016
Biaggi, Misano WSBK 2016
Aprilia garage, Malaysian WSBK 2016
Savadori`s Aprilia, Australian WSBK 2016. Photo: WorldSBK
De Angelis` Aprilia, Australian WSBK 2016. Photo: WorldSBK
Team Aprilia, Qatar WSBK 2015
Biaggi and Jonathan Rea, WSBK Race2, Jerez WSBK 2015
Biaggi and Jonathan Rea, WSBK Race2, Jerez WSBK 2015
Biaggi and Jonathan Rea, WSBK Race2, Jerez WSBK 2015

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openpipes

December 21, 2009 3:04 PM

If Toseland takes time adjusting to the R1, and Haga starts chucking it into the gravel as he is prone to do when the pressure is on, this guy will be the champion in 2010. For some reason I find him much more likable in WSBK than he was in MotoGP.

wosideg - Unregistered

December 21, 2009 5:15 PM

Biaggi is a legend, he's been at world level for what seems like an eternity. I'd love him to win it on the RSV4, then spearhead Aprilias assault on the new litre MotoGP class.. Fatherhood appears to suit him. :)



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