WSBK Top ten riders - Fourth place.

Having asked you to vote for the MotoGP and British Superbike personality you think deserved to be crowned as your top rider of 2008, it is the turn for to countdown the World Superbike top ten, as voted for by you!

Of the three polls, this is arguably the most hotly contested, not least because we gave you a total of 25 riders to rate out of ten.

Having totted up their average scores from almost 25,000 votes, we will be revealing your World Superbike order over the next ten days, with the winner being announced on Saturday 20th December.

WSBK Rider of the Year – Fourth place:

Name: Max Neukirchner
Nationality: German
Team: Alstare Suzuki
Bike: Suzuki GSX-R1000
Wins: 2
Podiums: 7
Championship points: 311
Championship position: 5th

Max Neukirchner entered the 2008 World Superbike season as Suzuki's apprentice.

A few years of doing his utmost on privateer machinery had finally earned the young German a shot at a works ride with Alstare Suzuki.

Even so, despite acing his interview with a guest appearance at the season-ending Magny-Cours round in 2007, team-mates Fonsi Nieto and Yukio Kagayama were still the strict Suzuki team leaders at the start of the season, a fact Nieto, especially, consolidated with victory in the first round.

Neukirchner was already making his pitch, though, managing a pair of top five results in the first four races, although it was his performance at Valencia that assured him 'star of the future' status, even if the outcome proved disastrous.

Indeed, Neukirchner was just metres from a stunning first win in Spain when he was cruelly denied by an over-ambitious lunge at the final corner by Carlos Checa, who was desperate to win in front of his home crowd. Coming away with a broken collarbone, Neukirchner certainly had sympathy, but it wasn't the same a maiden victory.

Fortunately for him, he didn't have to wait too long to find out what that winning feeling was like, Neukirchner winning just three races later at Monza to finish what he started.

In fact, Neukirchner's mid-season was extraordinary, with a run of seven podiums in nine races catapulting him up to second place in the rider standings. Although he wasn't ever realistically close enough to mount a challenge on Troy Bayliss, it was still difficult to believe at this moment that Neukirchner had entered the season as effectively Suzuki's third-string rider.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Neukirchner, Kyalami WSBK test, December 2008
Girl, Misano WSBK 2017
Taylor, SSP300 Race, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati pack up for long haul, Misano WSBK 2017
Empty Yamah garage,  Misano WSBK 2017
Yamaha pack up for long haul, Misano WSBK 2017
Rinaldi, Faccani and Scheib, SSTK1000 Race, Misano WSBK 2017
Faccani and Rinaldi, SSTK1000 Race, Misano WSBK 2017
Scheib, SSTK1000 Race, Misano WSBK 2017
Faccani, Rinaldi and Scheib, SSTK1000 Race, Misano WSBK 2017
Faccani, SSTK1000 Race, Misano WSBK 2017
Faccani, SSTK1000 Race, Misano WSBK 2017
Rinaldi, SSTK1000 Race, Misano WSBK 2017
Scheib, SSTK1000 Race, Misano WSBK 2017
Faccani, SSTK1000 Race, Misano WSBK 2017
Marino, SSTK1000 Race, Misano WSBK 2017
Razgatlioglu and Tamburini, SSTK1000 Race, Misano WSBK 2017
Rinaldi, SSTK1000 Race, Misano WSBK 2017

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Dirk - Unregistered

December 17, 2008 6:30 PM

He worked so hard to get there. I believed he would be a race winner if given a factory bike. Max will also be a title contender in 2009.

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