Ronald ten Kate has hailed his 2010 World Superbike rider line-up as a 'dream team' after securing the services of Max Neukirchhner to compete alongside Jonathan Rea.
The two-time race winner joins Ten Kate Honda next season after completing his move from Suzuki, the manufacturer with which he has been competing for three years.
An unexpected move for the German, who was tipped to remain with Suzuki following an injury interrupted season that hasn't seen him compete since Monza in May, even team manager ten Kate admits he was surprised to get the opportunity to sign Neukirchner.
“As much as anyone else, we were caught by surprise when we found out about Max's availability,” he said. “We immediately saw a 'dream team' line-up with Jonathan Rea, which is probably the youngest pairing ever in a World Superbike championship team, with both riders already having wins under their belts.
“We understand that Max may need some time to find his full race-craft again but we are quite sure that his talent, motivation and determination will get him quickly back up to speed.”
A return to Honda machinery having competed for the privateer Klaffi Honda team in Superbikes in 2005, a relationship that yielded one podium and a 12th place finish overall, Honda Europe manager Robert Watherston was thrilled be welcoming Neukirchner back to the manufacturer.
“Everyone at Honda is absolutely delighted to welcome Max back to the wider Honda family. He has been competitive on Honda machinery before and we are all looking forward to seeing him back on the CBR1000RR Fireblade and running at the front again.”
Neukirchner's arrival in the trimmed two rider line-up means current pair Carlos Checa and Ryuichi Kiyonari, who have five World Superbike wins between them, are without a ride for 2010.
Neukirchner is expected to make his first appearance in Ten Kate colours during post-season testing at Portimao on 27-28 October.