Max Biaggi says he will not assume his favourite status ahead of the World Superbike Championship fourth round at Monza, a circuit that traditionally favours his Aprilia RSV-4.
The former champion has a strong record around the high-speed Italian circuit, winning both races in 2010 and showing pace in 2011, even if errors – including a controversial ride-through penalty for incorrectly returning to the circuit after cutting a chicane - prevented him from capitalising.
As such, the championship leader is the rider many expect to beat again during this year's edition, but the man himself admits he cannot discount certain rivals that have come to the fore during the opening three rounds.
“I'll make no secret of the fact that Monza is a track that both I and the RSV4 like,” he said. “We can definitely fight for victory, but we also must consider the performances we've been seeing in the first few rounds. Various riders have made a qualitative leap forward, so the battle for first place has gotten very tight and there could be a surprise around every corner.
“Assen put us back into the leadership position, but we suffered quite a bit both during practice and in the races. Doing well here in Monza, in front of our fans, would be very important for the season.”
Despite failing to reach the podium at Imola or Assen, Biaggi actually moved to the head of the WSBK standings by a single point after the third round in the Netherlands