WSBK: Neukirchner out, Guintoli in at Alstare Suzuki? -- UPDATE: Guintoli Confirmed

Amid a recent raft of rumors that Max Neukirchner has left/been fired from the Alstare Suzuki team, owner Frankie Batta has acknowledged that Neukirchner will not be riding for the team in 2010. According to, Batta says that the team declined to exercise an option on the German in late September because he wasn't forthright about his physical condition.  Specifically, Batta says that Neukirchner underwent a delicate operation on his back that the team was not informed of and when it was discovered, declined to meet with the team at Magny-Cours and undergo a physical in Belgium, where the Alstare team is located. Batta went on to say that the second seat on the team will be filled by Sylvain Guintoli, currently riding for the Worx Crescent Suzuki team in the British Superbike series. Exactly how the team came to avail itself of Guintoli's services is unclear, as the Frenchman is under contract to the Worx team for 2010.


Alstare has issued a press release confirming that Max Neukirchner's contract has not been extended and their reasons why it hasn't.


Alstare has confirmed that Leon Haslam and Sylvain Guintoli will ride for the team in WSBK in 2010.

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With the rumors that Kagayama is going back to BSB's, it's possible that Alstare said to Worx, "We'll trade you a Kagayama for a Guintoli, even-ups."

I, too, would have loved to see him compete an entire season of BSB, but I will also enjoy watching him in WSB. Many of the tracks in WSB are the same ones he raced in GP's, so that will help.
I would like to take the opportunity to propagate a rumor. On another site, in the comments section, someone said that they live on Sylvain's street, and spoke with his builder the other day. It turns out that Sylvain has packed his leathers in preparation for racing in the last round of World Superbike at Portimao! How cool is that!

Maybe Guintoli can be a fly in the soup like Olivier in Shanghai. Who knows what a hungry rider can do with the GSX-R. What I'd be aiming for would be to finish in front of his future teammate.

Is Francis Batta to WSBK what Livio Suppo seems to be at Ducati/MotoGP: very positive when things go well and without any second thoughts when the rider has stop performed how he wants him to ? I recall some quite unfriendly comments he made about Troy Corser (and seemed to have forgotten Troy gave him and Suzuki a WSBK crown).
Batta shouldn't forget that riders have to ride that damn motorbike and often hurt themselves in the process when the riskiest move Batta ever does is boldly choosing his eyeglasses.