Following a flurry of contract activity in recent weeks, just three riders that were classified inside the top fifteen of the 2010 World Superbike Championship standings remain without a ride for next season.
Currently, eleven of the fifteen riders will return to the World Superbike ranks next season – though only six will remain with the same team -, while Cal Crutchlow will be the sole rider making a switch to MotoGP with Tech 3 Yamaha.
As such, it leaves James Toseland, Shane Byrne and Ruben Xaus as the 'top' riders still yet to confirm their plans for 2011.
Despite this, all three have firm links for next season with Toseland rumoured to be close to announcing a move to a satellite BMW outfit run under the BMW Italia banner than took Ayrton Badovini to a dominant Superstock 1000 title win in 2010. Badovini would almost certainly be his team-mate in the team.
Xaus, meanwhile, looks set to make a return to Ducati machinery in 2010 with the privateer Supersonic team. The Spaniard endured a tough second season with BMW, finishing no higher than fifth, and was duly replaced by Leon Haslam, but with Luca Scassa already confirmed as Supersport-bound, Supersonic are chasing an experienced hand for 2011.
According to GPOne.com
, negotiations are at an advanced stage with the new-for-2010 team, with Xaus no doubt hoping to replicate some of the form that has previously made him a winner on a twin.
While Toseland and Xaus are tipped to stay in World Superbikes, Byrne has been seen in the British Superbike paddock as he looks to possibly secure a return to the championship he has won on two occasions, most recently as 2008.
Other 2010 WSBK competitors still looking for a ride include Lorenzo Lanzi, who has seen his seat go to Noriyuki Haga following DFX's defection to Aprilia, and Max Neukirchner, who is another rider that has been linked with Supersonic Ducati.