With Max Neukirchner still unfit for race action, Karl Muggeridge will once again partner Yukio Kagayama at Suzuki Alstare Brux during this weekend's twelfth round of the World Superbike Championship at Imola.

Muggeridge qualified 17th last time out at the Nurburgring and took a twelfth place finish in race one, before crashing out of race two.

"It's great to get another opportunity to race for Suzuki Alstare Brux and I hope that now that I know the bike a bit better I can give them better results," said Muggeridge, who began the year on a Celani Suzuki and has also raced as a stand-in rider at HM Plant Honda in BSB.

"There was a lot for me to learn in the Nurburgring and I will continue this process in Imola. I will be at a disadvantage to most - if not all of - the top riders because they tested in July and so they will know the new layout better than me.

"I am looking forward to working with the whole team again and repaying their faith in me. I would like to wish Max all the best and hope his recovery has gone well and he returns soon. In the meantime, I will do the best I can," he added.

Neukirchner will travel to Imola and consult with the Clinica Mobile before a decision is made as to whether or not he will make his return at the following round in Magny-Cours next week.

Imola is hosting a WSBK race for the first time since 2006 this weekend. Kagayama was present at July's Imola test, which marked the first chance for the WSBK stars to experience the new layout.

"We tested here in July and I think that the changes may be better for cars than they are for bikes," declared the Japanese. "The approach to the final chicane is not so good for us and I hope that nobody crashes in this area, especially if they are in a group of riders. But of course, the track is the same for all of us and I, like everybody, will be doing the best we can."

With three rounds to go Kagayama sits just twelfth in the standings, with his only podium appearance a third place in the very first race of the year at Phillip Island.

"In the last round, we made a radical change to the bike and it worked out pretty well, so this is where we will start from in first practice," revealed Yuki. "I am hoping that we can be more competitive this coming weekend because I really want to do well again.

"Sometimes this season has been a bit frustrating, so it would be good to have some positive results in Imola and then more of the same in the last two rounds."


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