June 9, 2017 / 12:56 PM / 2 years ago

Former Superbike champion Biaggi injured during practice: media

FILE PHOTO: Italy's superbike rider Max Biaggi celebrates on the podium after his third place win in Race 1 of the Qatar round of the Superbike World Championship Championship at Losail international circuit in Doha March 14, 2009. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad

ROME (Reuters) - Former Superbike World Champion Max Biaggi was badly injured and airlifted to hospital on Friday after an accident during practice ahead of a Supermoto race this weekend near Rome, Italian media reported.

Biaggi, a two-times Superbike champion, lost control of his bike during a test run at the Sagittario circuit in Latina. La Repubblica website said he never lost consciousness but appeared to have suffered injuries to his spine and thorax.

He was flown by helicopter to Rome’s San Camillo hospital for treatment and his life did not appear to be in danger, state television RAI said.

Italian racer Doriano Romboni died after an accident at the same Sagittario circuit during a tribute race in 2013.

Biaggi, 45, was a four-times 250cc world champion before switching to the bigger 500cc bikes in 1998. But he never won a championship at the premier class, his career coinciding with that of another Italian racer - Valentino Rossi - who dominated in the sport in that period.

He joined the Superbike World Championship in 2007, capturing the 2010 and 2012 titles. He was due to ride in the Italian Supermoto Championship on Sunday in Latina.

Reporting by Crispian Balmer; editing by Philip Pullella/ark Heinrich

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