Max Neukirchner has been tapped as the replacement for 2011 Moto2 Champion Stefan Bradl at Kiefer Racing following his encouraging first year in the series.
The German made the move to Moto2 for 2011 following several seasons in the World Superbike Championship, during which time he scored two race wins and ten podiums.
Riding a 2010-specification FTR under the MZ Racing banner, Neukirchner adapted well to the rigours of prototype machinery, taking his lesser developed machine to the points in seven of the opening eight races.
Though his results weren't so accomplished in the second-half of the year, a ninth place finish in the season-ending Valencia GP helped him to 20th in the standings and capture the attention of Kiefer Racing, who were keen to replace its champion with another German rider. As such, Neukirchner will get a 2012-specification Kalex chassis to ride next year, much to his delight.
"I'm thrilled about starting next year with the Kiefer Racing team in the Moto2 class. I'm also glad I'll get to ride a Kalex. A while ago I tried it out, just sitting on it and even then it was a very positive feeling.”
"I wish I could start now, but because of the testing ban for Moto2 teams over the winter, unfortunately I can't. We are beginning in February with the first private tests and then we'll attend the official IRTA tests," he continued. “For the moment, my goals for next year are to be consistently in the top 10 and try for a few podiums. But I wouldn't be angry if I did even better than that.”
With Bradl heading to MotoGP to ride for LCR Honda, team manager Stefan Kiefer is pleased to have Neukirchner coming on board.
"We are delighted that we were able to sign with Max, a top-class German rider. Since we have known him for a long time, we also expect to work very well together. With Max and the Kalex Moto2, we have a very good package for a successful 2012 season in Moto2."