Batta backs new Suzuki signings

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Alstare Suzuki team boss Francis Batta has given his unconditional backing to his two new 2010 WSB signings. Following a split with his former number one rider Max Neukirchner, Batta has secured an enviable rider line up in the guise of Brit Leon Haslam and Frenchman Sylvan Guintoli.

The 2010 season will be a crucial one for Suzuki who is celebrating their 50th anniversary and the 25th anniversary of the GSXR.

Since 2005 when they won the WSB crown with Troy Corser they have fallen from grace finishing fourth in 2006 with Corser again, third in 2007 with Max Biaggi and fifth in 2008 with Max Neukirchner. The 2009 season has been particularly difficult having been plagued by rider injury with the top Suzuki man Yukio Kagayama holding a lowly 12th in the standings.

With a strong winter testing programme planed which will see Haslam and Guintoli test at Portimao twice and Phillip Island twice (one of which will be a private test), Batta is expecting a return to form in 2010.

He said: “”Sylvain already knows about the Suzuki GSX-R and Pirelli tyres and his professionalism and motivation for this new challenge are positive factors for us to start working together straight away.

With reference to Leon we are very happy to welcome a British rider. The Suzuki UK distributor has always given great support to Team Suzuki Alstare and all of us are delighted to have signed him for the 2010 World Superbike Championship. Leon has a good family set-up and they advise, support and help him very well. He has a real fighting spirit and is one of the best riders in the WSBK series, for sure. We are certain he will fit in perfectly with the Team Suzuki Alstare structure, as we both share the same desire to work hard and to win. With a team of such quality and experience as Suzuki Alstare, we feel that Leon will have a very bright future.”


Who do you think will be the top Suzuki rider in 2010? Can either man fight for the World Superbike crown?

Michael Guy

By Michael Guy

Sports Editor, former 250-racer and adventure rider