Crash.Net WSBK News
Suzuki Alstare confirms Neukirchner split
12 October 2009
Suzuki Alstare has confirmed it will not be automatically renewing its contract with Max Neukirchner after being unable to clarify when he is able to race again.
Neukirchner has been out of action since the Monza round of the championship after breaking his leg in a first turn pile-up. A scheduled return for Brno was then delayed by a further injury to his back during testing at Imola.
The second accident would require Neukirchner to undergo two major operations at a clinic in Chemnitz, not far from his home.
Since then, Neukirchner's return to competition has been heavily speculated, not least by the rider himself and Suzuki, with the former claiming he will be back on a bike in time for the Portimao post-season tests, while the latter stated it could be some months before he returns.
Suzuki has since moved to clarify its comments, releasing the following statement:
“Max's situation was causing concern within Alstare, so we asked him to produce his medical records (during the Imola race weekend) so that the specialists of the Clinica Mobile could confirm his fitness to race again.
“Max arrived at the track on Saturday but, as his clinical records were incomplete, new X-rays were required. These X-rays, taken by Dr. Costa's medical staff, showed that excellent work had been carried out by the German surgeons, but also that Max's recovery might take longer than predicted and that there was still a significant risk to his long-term health.
“Alstare then had a telephone conversation, in Max's presence, with the neurologist of the Chemnitz clinic, who confirmed the diagnosis made by the Clinica Mobile. The neurologist stated that he would not take responsibility for allowing Max to start racing again.
“According to these two different medical sources, Max's recovery could be expected to take between four and six months.”
With Neukirchner's contract scheduled to be extended in September, the team reveals it was unable to honour the agreement while his physical condition remained in doubt.
“We asked Max to come to Alleur, with one of his surgeons, the week after Magny-Cours, in order to carry out some tests which would have clarified the true state of his health. Unfortunately Max did not show up at our headquarters as had been agreed.”
As such, Suzuki Alstare has confirmed it will part ways with Neukirchner after three seasons of collaboration that produced two wins and a fifth position in the 2008 World Superbike standings.
“Alstare Suzuki have had a close collaboration with Max for three years and, during this time, we have encouraged and developed his promise whilst supporting him in the best possible way to enhance his career.
“Max's failure to come and talk to us means that, regretfully, this collaboration has now come to an end. However, we would like to wish him a full and speedy recovery and good luck in the future.
Despite concerns over his fitness, Neukirchner is nonetheless expected to confirm this week that he has signed a contract with Ten Kate Honda for the 2010 World Superbike season.