Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Suzuki Superbike Rumors

A spate of interrelated 2010 Suzuki WSBK rumors have wafted in through the ether in the last few days. Let's take a look:

1. Alstare Suzuki bids adieu to Yukio "Crash" Kagayama?. Team owner Fat Frankie Batta has made no secret to the fact that he needs two top riders on the team in order to be competitive (he also thinks he needs 2-3 million more Euro, but that's a different story). Batta reckons that the currently injured Max Neukirchner fills the bill, but the other current rider, Yukio Kagayama, doesn't. Kagayama is intermittantly fast, to be sure, but he historically suffers from a distinct inability to keep the machinery out of the scenery. With no podiums in 2008 and but one in 2009, the good will that he garnered with his 2007 Suzuka 8-hour win may not be enough to keep him on the factory team. Current rumors have Kagayama heading back to British Superbikes or to a rumored new Suzuki team that we'll discuss in a bit...

2. If Kagayama is gone, who'll ride for Alstare? Frankie Batta has a wish list of potential riders, allegedly starting with Soon To Be Departed From MotoGP riders Chris Vermeulin and James Toseland. Trouble is when Frankie goes to Tokyo to talk to Suzuki brass, he always has big dreams that don't get funded. Also, Vermeulin is allegedly high up on Aprilia's wish list and Toseland is reportly cozying up to former employer Ten Kate Honda, who are reportedly trimming their roster to two riders for 2010.

3. Yoshimura Suzuki in World SBK? With their long-time #1 rider Mat Mladin retiring back to the outback and Suzuki's direct involvement in the American AMA/DMG superbike series heavily rumored to be at an end, Yoshimura is reportedly casting their nets upon international waters. Reps of the California based company were reportedly at the Nurburgring to scope out the scene and to meet with reps of a European Superstock team and are supposed to renew the conversation at Imola. Other rumors indicate that a Yoshimura team could be a lily-pad for factory favorite "Crash" Kagayama.

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