MZ Press Release Confirms Neukirchner Switching To FTR Chassis, West On MZ

Confirmation of news that 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

Hohndorf/Germany – MZ factory riders Max Neukirchner and Anthony West will use two different chassis at the last official pre-season test in Jerez (March 3rd – 6th) and at the season-opening Grand Prix of Qatar (March 20th). West, who rode the first ever Moto2 World Championship for MZ in 2010 and scored three top ten positions for the German brand, will use MZ's very own evolution chassis with a steel tubular trellis frame and a modified rear wheel suspension. Max Neukirchner, who rode in the World Superbike Championship and joined MZ at the end of the 2010 season to form a two-rider-team, will test and race a British FTR chassis.

The original plan to supply both riders with the latest Moto2-chassis from MZ, which was designed over the winter months and incorporates a milled steering head and a milled swingarm mount within the tubular trellis frame, had to be postponed due to a delay in manufacturing of some of the parts. "Our new chassis will also be the base of the street replica of our Moto2 prototype. But there are things in the development process of a fully road-worthy bike that you just can't speed up", said MZ CEO Martin Wimmer. "Therefore, we had to find an interim solution that would enable our riders to compete on a high level in the first race."

After looking closely at the available options, an FTR chassis from 2010 was the obvious choice. "Karel Abraham won the last race of the 2010 season with this type of chassis", said Wimmer. "We know what can be achieved with this bike, and we will make the best out the situation carefully analyzing and comparing the data of both riders. There could be some interesting details that might help us to further improve the MZ chassis."


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"There could be some interesting details that might help us to further improve the MZ chassis."

Meaning, leasing 4 chassis for 2 riders is more expensive than leasing 2 chassis for one rider, then copying that chassis for the 2nd rider.

MZ will be getting the 2010 version of the FTR. The 2011 version has a number of key changes and improvements. So even were MZ to copy the chassis, they'd still be behind the curve.

I don't think they will copy the aluminium FTR chassis, because then it would be a totally different type of frame. They want to make their trademark steel trellis frame work, so they will probably try to get some insights on weight distribution, stiffness and dimensions in general. And of course they want to keep Neukirchner happy so he won't leave.

So West gets shafted in terms of equipment yet again?
Results last year and times at testing would suggest that the MZ chassis is not good and FTR is a better option.

Couldn't agree more,it seems that personal sponsorship is far more important than talent.
Every country knows of its local guy that would kill 'em if he only got a break, and we all see the same duds making up the numbers, year after year

In these days of riders needing to bring money to teams, the old idea of a meritocracy is just that - an old idea. Max was thought to be able to conjure a fair bit of German sponsoreuros, so it will be he to benefit.

FTR giving them the '10 chassis makes more sense, otherwise it would be too easy to copy the geometry of the '11 version and reverse engineer the R&D for MZ. I'm sure that this was part of the deal - all riders on '11 equipment, or you get last year's stuff...

meritocracy seems to work fine in most parts of society, but weirdly not in any form of motorsport
eventually those sponsors move on (out of our sport) and find another way of spruiking their product: motorcycling is left bruised, smaller again,and certainly on the downward spiral that all businesses selling a product that is not as good as it could be, do
a bit off the subject, sorry

does Ant West have to hump to get a real break for two seasons. I would so love to see him on a decent ride for a two year deal just so I can stop thinking its not him its the bike...

Poor Westie? Put yourselves in Max's shoes...

You've just been told your teammate gets the 2011 chassis and that you will be starting the season on a 2010 bike from another manufacturer, so obviously no updates, and is going to be way behind not only your teammates bike in terms of development, but perhaps the rest of the moto2 field who will be campaigning their brand spanking new 2011 MotoBis, Suters, Moriwakis, Tech3s, Kalex etc... poor Westie?

The big question for MZ is "has a winters development given us a steel trellis chassis that is competitive against the other 2011 bikes?" So if Ant West is slower than Neukirchner they have big problems!

It's because Neukirchner and his management complained, and because they brought money to the team, that MZ bought this FTR bike for Max.
West is clearly unhappy about the MZ but won't have the chance to try the FTR, probably because he doesn't bring as much money as Max and also because of house policy, it would make no sense to promote MZ know-how while racing 2 FTR bikes...
Neukirchner got what he asked for, not West.

I did indeed! Just read the other article that stated "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. "

It does make me wonder about just how competitive a 2010 chassis is actually going to be, and also then, just how BAD the 2011 Mz chassis is to make them go for this option rather than have faith in their team and factory's design ability and development skill!

Always thought westy was a bloody lucky rider. He's done hardly anything other than a couple of very wet ss wins in the last 8 years or so, and that was a longtime ago, yet has never struggled to get a ride in a sport where there is scant if any, australian dollars/sponsorship. The guy even spent some time in motogp. There are alot of riders who are younger faster and hungrier and I suspect harder working(if his rep is anything to go by).
Only saw a few results of his last year but never saw him top 20 in the races though often in the top 30.....(though I'm sure he could have on occasion) and that was the first year with a large number of participants not even riding a 600 before. Be amazed if he top 20s at all this year. Very lucky guy..

The FTR wasn't exactly a world beating chassis last year, yes Karel Abraham won a race on it, but he was gifted that win after the frontrunners tangled and took themselves out of contention. I don't know that Max Neukirchner has much too look forward to. Westy meanwhile gets to continue developing a chassis that was less competitive than his teammate's was last year. This year's version might be an improvement but whether it'll be a quantum leap to bring it up to the same level as the Suter and Moriwaki chassis is dubious at best.
Good luck to them both, they're gonna need it!

Actually, an FTR chassis won three races and finished third in the championship last year. It's just that it was badged as a Speed Up, and featured some revised bodywork, and had Andrea Iannone on board ...