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
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."