Max Biaggi retires

Italian great announces his retirement from motorcycle racing

MAX BIAGGI, 41 year-old former world champion, has announced he has retired from motorcycle racing.

The Italian posted a message on his Twitter account this morning which read 'Today is going to be a new day for me... things will never be the same.' Later in the day, he told reporters during a special press conference organised at the Vallelunga circuit, 'I have officially retired.'

Biaggi, a former world champion in the 250cc category, has also finished runner-up in both 500cc and MotoGP categories. He left MotoGP in 2005, after a fifth place finish with Honda. His highest ever finish in MotoGP was second place in 2002, behind countryman Valentino Rossi. 

Biaggi left MotoGP for World Superbikes, finishing third in his first season with Suzuki in 2007. He won the championship for the first time with Aprilia in 2010, before crowning his time in WSB by winning the 2012 Championship by half-a-point ahead of Kawasaki's Tom Sykes.

'It's the most difficult decision I've had to make,' he told reporters. 'But I want the fans to remember me as a champion.'

'It's my choice to retire now,' Biaggi added. 'I'm not injured and had a new contract offer from Aprilia - same bike, same money - but I think I've taken enough time from my children and my wife. It's the right time to stop.' 

A combined statement from Aprilia Racing and the Piaggo Group stated: 'Aprilia's history in competitive motorcycling has been inextricably connected to Max Biaggi's efforts. Max is without question the most victorious Aprilia rider ever, as well as one of the greatest players in motorcycle sports on a global level.' 

'The Piaggio Group extends warmest wishes of happiness and success to Max in his personal endeavours and in any new professional activities that he may undertake.'

Biaggi has suggested that he may continue to be involved with Aprilia in the future. In the meantime, Aprilia Racing will be looking to replace Biaggi for the coming year, with Sylvain Guintoli hot favourite to partner Eugene Laverty next season.