Hundreds of fans waited patiently in a long line to meet Max Biaggi at the Dainese D-Store in Costa Mesa, California, on Saturday, May 22. The four-time 250cc world champion and current World Superbike front-runner was surprised by the massive turnout.

"Very impressive," he laughed. "The US is not my home country, and roadracing is more European. I could understand if I were a motocross champion..."

In Southern California prior to this weekend's US round of the World Superbike Championship at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, Biaggi spoke briefly to the crowd then spent the next two hours posing for photos and signing autographs. After the event, I spoke with Biaggi. As always, he was welcoming and thoughtful in his responses.

Max Biaggi

005 Max Biaggi at the Dainese D-Store.

Away from the crowds and face to face with multi-time world champ Biaggi.Cycle World

The Aprilia RSV4 performed well last year in its debut season. You had nine podium finishes, including one victory, and were fourth overall in the championship. Were you surprised by this success?

When I saw the project for the first time on the track, it was a really aggressive motorcycle. But when I saw that behind the project I could have the team that I have always been with and pick up people from where I wanted and bring them all together, I was totally fine with the inspiration and trust in the project. Plus, when Luigi Dall'Igna, the project leader, showed me the road—the progress—of this bike through the months, I was optimistic.

When we started, we were so-so. Halfway through 2009, we started to score podiums and be more competitive. We developed the bike during the race, which is something that you would never do if you want to become the champion. It was so hard for me to express, to let them understand, because we were at a different track every weekend, with different weather conditions. Very tough.

Max Biaggi

004 Max Biaggi at the Dainese D-Store.

Biaggi was the center of attention at the D-Store.Cycle World

You scored double wins this season at Portimão and Monza, which are very different racetracks. What is the RSV4's strength?

Our strength is on the fast tracks, where we can use high rpm and a long gear. Portimão is twisty but not such as a fast track. Monza is very fast—the fastest. For sure, our engineers give more importance to that kind of a track. On a very short track, we still have to work. I'm not afraid to work on the short tracks then fight for the win on the other tracks.

Max Biaggi

003 Max Biaggi at the Dainese D-Store.

Hundreds of fans turned out to meet Biaggi and participate in a Q&A session.Cycle World

Were you surprised by the record 200-plus-mph speeds you turned at Monza?

I was totally surprised. This is a production bike that you can buy in a shop. For sure, you add some power and some tuning parts, but the base is there. Potentially, anyone can make a bike from the shop go more than 200 mph.

What is your opinion of Moto2?

Moto2 is like a Honda Cup. It's not really a world championship of a team—to build something. It's like a national championship. I prefer MotoGP, Superbike, and Supercross. If you like to paint, MotoGP and Superbike are colorful. Moto2 is like black and white—too simple.

Max Biaggi

001 Max Biaggi at the Dainese D-Store.

Biaggi admitted he was not aware that he had such a strong fan base in Southern California.Cycle World

Would you consider returning to MotoGP?

I am only thinking about this bike for the moment. My future, of course, is not that long any more because I'm not 20 years old. From a physical and mental point of view, I could keep going for another seven or eight years. But I don't want to be around just to finish in the top five. My target is to be the best.