As reported by MCN:
Sidebar article:Kawasaki will read Max Biaggi the riot act if he signs a shock deal to ride for them in 2006, leaving the Italian in no doubt they won't tolerate any of his outbursts.
The Japanese manufacturer is willing to take a huge gamble in saving Biaggi's racing career. In return they want to see an end to the stroppy behavior that has seen Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki all give him a wide berth.
As MCN went to press on Monday, Kawasaki was waiting to see if its final proposal, sent to Biaggi's sponsor Camel on Monday, was to be accepted. Team boss Harald Eckl said that if negotiations reached a successful conclusion this week, he would sit down with the 34-year old Italian for a heart-to-heart.
Eckl told MCN: "If we do come to an agreement I will sit down with Max and give him the message that he must take a different approach than riding for Honda. Max is a very interesting rider and I still rate him as one of the best and would be happy to have him at Kawasaki. We know what problems might occur, but we also know he could deliver good results."
Eckl didn't have to go far to gauge opinion on what a challenge Biaggi can be. Kawasaki's technical director Ichiro Yoda was previously Yamaha's project director when Biaggi was on board, and he has also worked with Firenzo Fanali, who is now at Kawasaki, too.
Eckl admitted he had already spoken to Fanali about Biaggi and said, "He admitted it's not easy working with Max. This is a concern and it's my job to inform Kawasaki about any problems. But I've also told them the history of his performance and riding abilities. We've evaluated all the pluses and the minuses."
A major stumbling block on a deal appears to be Biaggi's wage demands. Camel is so desperate to keep him on the grid that parent company JTI has been dangling 8 million Pounds in front of potential takers for their rider, but it is believed that Biaggi wants to take a 3 million Pound chunk of the budget for himself. Eckl said, "There must be a compromise and I hope that Max understands that we can't offer him conditions like he had at Honda. It looks like Max has requested a large amount of money, but he must understand that this is probably his last chance. We are not using this as a tool to push his price down as we want to pay him what he deserves."
Kawasaki's final proposal would see Biaggi, Shinya Nakano, and Randy dePuniet all run in the factory team, with a green and yellow paint scheme.
Proposals to run Biaggi in a satellite team on his own on a full yellow Camel-branded bike were rejected by Kawasaki.
Nakano: 'I'm not worried by Max'
Current Kawasaki rider Shinya Nakano isn't concerned that Max Biaggi may wreak havoc in his team if the Italian completes his shock move to ride a factory ZX-RR in 2006.
Biaggi has a reputation for disrupting teams he has ridden for in the past, but Nakano reckons the Italian could even be a positive influence if he becomes his team-mate.
Nakano said, "It would be interesting to have Max riding for Kawasaki because maybe I can learn a lot from him. No matter what, Max is still a very fast rider with a lot of experience. I have heard the stores about him in the paddock, but I've always had a good relationship with him. Kawasaki will listen to what he wants and that might benefit us."