Confirmation of news that MotoMatters.com reported on Saturday has just arrived: MZ is confirming that Max Neukirchner will be riding the FTR chassis rather than their own MZ frame for at least the start of the 2011 Moto2 championship. The press release also clears up a few more issues: Only Neukirchner will be riding the FTR machine; Ant West will continue development of the MZ chassis, with the aim being that once the MZ chassis reaches the same level as the FTR, Neukirchner will also switch back to the MZ. Work on the MZ chassis will also continue in the Spanish CEV championship, where Arne Tode and Bernd Hiemer will campaign the MZ chassis.
Here's the press release:
MZ riders Neukirchner and West to start new Moto2 season on two different chassis
At Imola last year, shortly after Ducati had announced it would not be entering a factory team for the 2011 World Superbike series, hardcore Ducatisti and WSBK adepts hung a range of banners along the front straight, with such messages as "Senza SBK, Ducati Vale Meno" and "Ducati-SBK, the 46 reasons for pulling out." The withdrawal of the factory team was widely regarded as a terrible betrayal by Ducati, which had built its reputation and much of its brand on the success of its World Superbike team, creating legends such as Carl Fogarty, Giancarlo Falappa and Troy Bayliss along the way.
A roundup of the press releases issued after the opening World Superbike round at Phillip Island:
Brilliant podium on debut for Lowes
PARKALGAR HONDA'S Sam Lowes finished his first World Supersport race for Parkalgar Honda in a thrilling third place, just 0.033seconds behind race winner Luca Scassa at Phillip Island in Australia.
Results of Race 2 for the World Superbike class at Phillip Island:
Results of the World Supersport race at Phillip Island:
Results of World Superbike Race 1 from Phillip Island:
Prior to the 2010 season, the Moto2 class spawned a huge burst of creativity, with 13 chassis builders supplying teams for the inaugural season. But by the combined processes of attrition and fear of not having what someone else had, that number had been whittled away, and the provisional entry list for the 2011 season featured just 7 chassis.
That number looks likely to be cut down to just 6: MotoMatters.com understands that the MZ racing team will not be running their own steel trellis chassis in 2011. Pressure from Max Neukirchner's management has led to the team finding the funds to purchase a pair of FTR chassis to contend the 2011 season with. Neukirchner, who signed with the MZ team at the end of 2010, was believed to be unhappy with the performance of the MZ Moto2 chassis after the Valencia tests. Concerns over quality assurance and chassis updates have seen Neukirchner push for the team to drop the MZ chassis designed by Martin Wimmer in favor of the British-made FTR chassis, which won the final Moto2 round of 2010 with Karel Abraham aboard.
Below are the press releases received after qualifying at Phillip Island:
Phillip Island – Qualifying Practice 2 & Superpole.
After a tough start to the first race weekend of the 2011 season, Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport is happy with today's Superpole Qualifying result. Both riders, Leon Haslam (GBR) and Troy Corser (AUS), made it into the third and final qualifying session, with Leon starting tomorrow's races from fourth and Troy seventh.
Results of Superpole from Phillip Island:
Results of the second session of free practice for the World Superbike class at Phillip Island:
Results of the second qualifying session for the World Superbike class at Phillip Island:
Combined result of the two qualifying sessions for the World Supersport session at Phillip Island:
Results of the second set of free practice for the World Supersport class at Phillip Island:
While the factory Marlboro Ducati team were testing in Sepang at the official IRTA MotoGP tests, Ducati's test team was taking part in a private test at Jerez, working on solutions to take to Qatar, a necessity given the worrying results at Sepang. Test rider Franco Battaini spent time trying out some electronic and chassis setup changes, under the watchful eye of Ducati Corse director Filippo Preziosi. Below is the press release issued after that test:
DUCATI DEVELOPMENT TEAM COMPLETE THREE DAY TEST IN JEREZ