Multiple grand prix world champion Max Biaggi has announced his retirement from motorcycle racing following a career that spanned three decades.
The 41-year-old Italian won his second World Superbike title this year, having competed in the series since 2007 and raced in grands prix between 1991-2005.
Biaggi won four consecutive 250cc world titles between 1994-97 on Aprilia and Honda machinery, taking 29 race victories on the way.
He then stepped up to grand prix racing's premier category in '98 and took 13 victories. Biaggi was the runner-up in the championship in his maiden year as well as in 2001-02, and infamously struck up an acrimonious relationship with Valentino Rossi.
Biaggi won his debut World Superbike race at Losail in 2007 on an Alstare Suzuki and wrapped up both his titles - in 2010 and '12 – with Aprilia.
He announced his retirement during a press conference at Vallelunga, where he began his racing career.
"I chose Vallelunga because everything began here for me," Biaggi said.
"It began by chance many years ago, a sort of magic world for a young guy who had absolutely nothing to do with the world of bikes, but then something sparked off in me and afterwards it became a dream that has taken me a very long way.
"This passion for racing has taken me onto some great achievements. I have had many companions along the way, but one that truly stands out is Aprilia, with whom together we have written some important chapters in racing history. It was true love!
"We got together, we left each other, we hitched-up again... And for this reason it is right and I am happy that I am retiring as world champion with Aprilia.
"It wasn't an easy decision to make, and last night was the longest night of my life.
"Nothing will be the same as before but I am serene because it was a decision I wanted to make, not one I was forced into making."
Biaggi said he was in discussions with Aprilia about a project for the future.
- Sports & Recreation