Max Biaggi paid tribute to the Pramac Ducati squad after being offered the opportunity to come out of retirement and test the team’s MotoGP bike. With Ben Spies out injured, the team called on the reigning World Superbike Champion to put mileage on the GP13 over two days at Mugello.
Despite rain showers late in both days, the 41 year old relished the opportunity to ride a prototype motorcycle again and was particularly happy with the rapport built with the Pramac mechanics.
“I’m back to being a rider for the first time in eight months! It was great because this is a sport that I really love, and after what feels like a long time, it was a great opportunity to ride a MotoGP bike. In the early laps I actually felt that I had really been away for eight years, because a MotoGP bike always has an immediate reaction, and a progression that just doesn’t exist in a Superbike. It was also nice because I established a great feeling with the group of people who were assigned to me for this test, just like when I began in Aprilia in 2009. There was a positive feeling between all of us, even though it was just a single test. I’d like to thank first Ducati, and also team Pramac for this opportunity. We were rather unfortunate because out of two days available we more or less only had one due to the rain, but it’s better than nothing. We didn’t do any damage and we had some good fun!”
Team Manager Francesco Guidotti admitted the eight year gap since he had last ridden a MotoGP bike made life difficult for Biaggi but was pleased to see him make progress over the two days.
“The first day was spent with Max trying to find out as much as possible about the bike because, as we said, after eight years of not riding a MotoGP bike, it was clear that his memories were from a long time back! Things have changed a lot since then, in particular the tyres, but probably the carbon brakes were what slowed him down the most in his gaining overall confidence in the bike. On the second day, however, we could see an improvement right from the first time he went out; maybe during the night he reflected on what had happened the previous morning, as he hadn’t ridden in the afternoon due to the bad weather. I think it was great for him to test with us, and for us it was a great pleasure to have him in the box again!”