Max Biaggi was in a philosophical mood Sunday after clinching his second World Superbike championship - the sixth world title of his illustrious career - by one-half point at Magny-Cours.
Biaggi talked about what he thought was the decisive point of his season on the factory Aprilia - the second race at the Nurburgring on Sept. 9. Biaggi won the first race by 3.027 seconds over Eugene Laverty to regain the championship lead.
But in the second race, the Roman Emperor crashed into the gravel trap on the first lap, trying to avoid Laverty, who had just been passed by Tom Sykes. Biaggi faced a choice at that time - quit and march off in a petulant huff, or hop back on his Aprilia and fight.
He chose the latter. Biaggi returned to the race in last and climbed to 13th by the finish, earning three points. He ended up winning the title by one-half point over Sykes.
The decision to climb back on the Aprilia in the German gravel was pivotal. It also was another sign of the transformation of a man from the ultimate two-wheeled drama king of the 1990s and early 2000s in Grand Prix to a composed, measured, relaxed racer.
"After the fall, I was left with egg on the face," Biaggi said about the second race at the Nurburgring. "The hard work has been to give an explanation for what had happened. Talking seems to give relief, but does not always help to understand.
"I thought that if things need to happen, happen. It tells me that for years a person who is very close, and at this point, I believe. It's difficult for a stubborn, determined and meticulous person like me to have to believe in something that you cannot study, but it is. There is a time for everything and everyone."
Max Biaggi, two-wheeled philosopher. That was almost beyond belief 10 years ago.
Biaggi has a winter home in California and he will most certainly spend some of his off-season there.