Maxime Berger is on the verge of making his long-awaited World Superbike Championship debut in 2011 as he nears a deal with the Supersonic Ducati team.
The Frenchman has raced in the Superstock 1000 series for the last three seasons under the Ten Kate Junior banner, but despite proving a consistent front runner he was unable to seal the title during that time.
Nonetheless, having finished runner-up for the second time in 2010, Berger is tipped to follow in the footsteps of runaway champion Ayrton Badovini by moving up to World Superbikes with the privateer Supersonic Racing outfit.
Taking the place of Luca Scassa, who has joined Triumph in the World Supersport series, Berger will be the team's only rider in 2011, quashing rumours that he would be joined by BMW exile Ruben Xaus in an expanded effort.
"I can reveal that we're going to sign Maxime Berger, we just need to sort out a few details,” said Danilo Soncini. “I am very happy with this two-year agreement because the Frenchman is a sort of protégé of mine and our aim with him is to score our first podium in World Superbike.”
Now the third confirmed team to run a privateer Ducati in the absence of the factory effort, Soncini is confident of building on the promise shown by his fledgling team, which showed continual improvements during the 2010 season in the hands of Scassa.
"I'm convinced that the Ducati is still the bike to beat and Checa's form in the final part of the season after the weight changes are clear proof of that.
“I think that for us private teams, the fact that the Borgo Panigale manufacturer has decided to no longer take part with an internal team is a point in our favour: we will receive some of the material from the factory, and we'll try and make the best of it, something which could work well for us in view of 2012.”
Supersonic were a little-known entity when it debuted in 2010, but Scassa proved a frequent top ten contender, while he started on the front row at Imola.