Max Biaggi, the four-time 250 GP champion, and multi-race winner in his first year on a 500 GP bike (even winning straight-up against Mick Doohan) has struggled all year in the 500 class.
Max won his first race on a 500 — a resounding victory at Suzuka two years ago (against Mick Doohan and others). He looked destined to take the torch from Mick Doohan, and win the 500 GP championship (if not, eventually, dominate that championship series). What happened?
Since switching to Yamaha last year (after riding a privateer Honda tuned by Erv Kanemoto the year before), Max frequently complained about the set-up of his bike, its power delivery, and virtually everything else. This season, particularly, has been a disaster, with frequent crashes. It all came together for Max and Yamaha, however, at Brno last weekend. If you haven’t seen that race, you need to. Biaggi dominated that race like no other 500 rider has dominated a race this year, and his wheelie and stoppie exhibition on the last lap was incredible. Biaggi and the bike were one — he was truly in the “zone”.
It will be interesting to watch Biaggi the remainder of this year (he has no chance at the title due to his dismal performance prior to Brno). With nothing to lose this year, Biaggi may be able to “strut his stuff” now that the Yamaha performs to his liking. Perhaps, next year, Biaggi will fulfill his promise and take his first 500 GP title.