Another round another story. After our tribute to Assen and Mick Doohan, it’s up to Max Biaggi and Brno. “The Roman Emperor“, as the commentators called him in the 250 races in the 90s. The relationship between the four-time world champion and the Brno circuit has always been particular, a special symbiosis.

Let’s start from the class where Max won his world titles, the 250. Four consecutive victories on the circuit of the Czech Republic from 1994 to 1997. Three with Aprilia and the last with Honda. Some dominated, like that of ’94 with six seconds on Waldmann. Others at the photo finish, on Harada the following year. In 1996 he was 6 seconds ahead Jacque on the finish line. In his last year with Honda, the year of his fourth world title, he defeated the Frenchman Jacque again for only half a second.

Then the passage to the 500 with the Honda managed by Erv Kanemoto. Italy in those years was all for Max the “Corsaro” (the Corsair). A damn fast rookie and already mature to win the World Championship on his first try. The history of the Grand Prix motorcycle racing would probably have changed, but it did not all run smoothly in that incredible 1998 season.

Honda did not expect an Italian rider to win the first race, at Suzuka, in the Japanese engine temple. Honda did not expect the boy to make a certain Mick Doohan, the undisputed world champion for four consecutive years as, nervous. Thus began a hand-to-hand duel between the two, until Brno on 23 August 1998. Doohan started on pole, Biaggi immediately stood in front of everyone. On the ninth lap Mick, who was very close to the Italian, lost the front and slipped. At that point Max was in the ideal situation, being in front of everyone to set the pace for the whole race with Criville, Honda HRC official, and Barros at his heels. After 22 laps, “The Roman Emperor” conquered Brno again, for the fifth consecutive time in his career.

To celebrate it, he began just before the finish to set the usual final wheelie, which became for many years to come, the most vertical wheelie in history. An example of what adrenaline can cause to riders.

We arrive then a month later at the epilogue of the ’98 season, even though it was the third last GP of the season in Barcelona, ​​GP of Catalonia. In the final report of the race there was a cold final note that quoted “Excluded; Max Biaggi “. That race that changed, as we said at the beginning, the course of the world championship should be revised at least a couple of times.

What would have happened if a private team with a debutant driver had won the world championship? At that time the riders’ championship was open, Max was at 189 points, 4 points ahead of Doohan.

Everything started from a counter overtaking between Biaggi and Barros in the yellow flag regime during the second lap of the race. The race direction only communicated it nine laps from the end, after 28 minutes of competition (!). And here began a real film noir. They intimated Biaggi and Barros to stop for the stop and go in the pit lane, but both continued undeterred. They were fighting for the podium! Barros at 2.40 pm entered the pits to serve the penalty. Max didn’t. On the contrary, he had a strange idea in mind, to go and win. And he did it. With a small detail, the exposure of the black flag with his number 6 in the last laps. The Corsair stood in front of Doohan until the checkered flag.

Pure insubordination, for Dorna. Mick conquered that world championship in the end, his fifth and last, with seven victories. That season changed everything for Biaggi who chose Yamaha and we all know how his career in the premier class has then evolved.

But Brno always remained his home. With the 2000 victory over Rossi, in the second-to-last season of the legendary 500 and that in 2002 with the new Yamaha M1 MotoGP ahead of Kato, he reached seven overall career successes on the Czech track. For the sake of completeness, in his last two seasons in MotoGP riding the Honda, he conquered two third places in the 2004 and 2005 GP.

And the story doesn’t end here, as Max will be the only Italian rider who, after racing in 250, 500 and MotoGP, will land in Superbike, reinventing a new career. Conquering with Aprilia 2 world championships. Another 4 victories in Brno between 2007 and 2015.

In total 12 victories on Circuit of Brno in his career. 4 in 250, 3 in 500 / MotoGP and 4 in SBK. Maybe the GP of the Czech Republic, when in the near future only silent electric motorcycles and drones will ride the fantastic corners of Brno, should be named after Max Biaggi, what do you think?

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