Max Neukirchner has been the revelation of the 2008 World Superbike season, bouncing back from the agony of losing his first victory - and gaining a broken collarbone - during a last-turn clash with Carlos Checa at Valencia to become the first German WSBK winner just two rounds later at Monza.
A further victory followed at Misano and Max heads into Sunday's s tenth round of the 2008 championship at Brands Hatch having taken nine podiums and holding second place in the standings, all during his first season as a factory rider.
"This [Alstare Suzuki] is a really, really good team and it's my first year in a factory team so I'm really happy about how it's going," Neukirchner told Crash.net Radio
. "I'm second in the world championship and ok I can't get the title this year, Troy Bayliss is 79 points in front, but there are still ten races left until the end of the season.
"I'll do my best at each of those races but it's not so easy to find a different setup from track to track. We have to work a lot with the Suzuki to find a good set-up at each track."
After being dropped by Klaffi Honda to make way for Alex Barros at the end of an injury interrupted, debut 2005 WSBK campaign - in which he finished on the podium in only his second event - Neukirchner spent the first half of 2006 in the wilderness at Pedercini Ducati, before being thrown a lifeline by Francis Batta in the form of a third (non-factory) GSX-R1000 run by the Alstare team.
Neukirchner steadily rebuilt his reputation, finishing ninth in the 2007 series, then burst into race winning contention after being promoted to a full factory ride for 2008. Neukirchner then repaid Batta's faith further by signing a new Alstare contract just days after clinching his first WSBK victory.
"I've signed for the next two years with Suzuki. I like this team and all is perfect. I feel great here," said Max.
BMW were also thought to be heavily pursuing Neukirchner's signature for 2009, when the German giant will make its WSBK debut, and Max confirmed that an offer was on the table from his 'home' manufacturer.
"BMW gave me a contract, but for me it was not important because next year I want to win the world title," he said. "For me it's important that I have a good bike and a good team and I have that at Suzuki."
BMW has since announced the signing of Ruben Xaus, with Troy Corser leading the list of candidates for the so-far-unconfirmed second seat.