Crash.Net WSBK News

PIC: Max Neukirchner unveils MR Ducati

1 February 2013

Max Neukirchner has taken the wraps off the bike he will ride in the 2013 World Superbike Championship, the German returning to the series after two years at Moto2 level.

The German racer, a two-time race winner at WSBK level, will ride a brand-new Ducati 1199 Panigale under the MR Racing banner in 2013, a privateer effort that will see him team up with former manager Mario Rubatto.

Preparing to make the trip to Australia for the opening round of the season on February 22-24, Neukirchner took to his Facebook page to reveal the bike's livery, a predominantly red, white and black colour scheme in-keeping with the 29-year-old's personal logos.

A relative veteran of 125 WSBK race starts, Neukirchner was victory contender during 2008 on Suzuki machinery, though injury woes in 2009 and an ill-fated switch to Ten Kate Honda in 2010 would damage his reputation prior to a similarly disappointing stint in the Moto2 World Championship.

Ahead of his return, Neukirchner tested the 1199 Panigale alongside his rivals at Jerez in November, though the machine was reported to still be in part-stock specification. His best time during the test was a 1min 44.426secs, marginally quicker than Ayrton Badovini on the factory-assisted Alstare Ducati.