Max Neukirchner could be heading back to the World Superbike Championship in 2013 after rumours surfaced that he has acquired a Ducati 1199 Panigale to ride next season.
The German racer competed in the WSBK series between 2005 and 2010, peaking with a run to fifth overall in 2008 aboard the factory-backed Alstare Suzuki.
Having bid farewell to World Superbikes when an ill-fated switch to Ten Kate Honda left him without a ride at the end of the 2010 season, Neukirchner has been racing in Moto2 ever since, firstly with MZ Racing before switching to the 2011-title winning team Kiefer Racing for 2012.
However, while Neukirchner is currently sidelined by an injury that will keep him out for the remainder of the 2012 season, Speedweek.de
is reporting that he has nonetheless already firmed his plans for next year with a return to World Superbikes aboard a new Ducati 1199 Panigale.
Though it is unclear whether Neukirchner will have a team created around him, as he did in 2007 when he competed under the Suzuki Germany banner, it is known that Infront are keen to have a German rider competing in World Superbikes.
also reports that Neukirchner will be teaming up with Mario Rubatto, who was behind the Suzuki Germany team that he enjoyed success with five years ago.
If confirmed, Neukirchner's return would be the latest chapter in a turbulent career that appeared to be on an upward trend following his 2008 breakthrough season. However, when a serious leg injury sustained at Monza ended his 2009 season after just five rounds and led to a switch from Suzuki to Honda machinery, he struggled throughout the 2010 season and subsequently decided to turn his attentions to Moto2.