MotoGP refugee Alex Barros is on the brink of signing for as a rider for Klaffi Honda in the Corona Extra Superbike World Championship in 2006, but his arrival will mean there is no longer a race seat for Max Neukirchner.source: crash.net
The team's official website gives the news, stating there is insufficient budget to run both riders - which was orginally thought to be the plan - the reason cited for Neukirkner's departure. The squad is supported by money from Honda, and the Japanese manufacturer supports the placement of Barros at the team, but negotiations for an increase in budget to retain Neukirchner did not come to fruition.
Team manager Klaus Klaffenboeck explains all. "At the next to last running of the Superbike World Championship at the beginning of October in Imola, I spoke with the management of Max Neukirchner immediately over the possible negative developments. Unfortunately, the fears became true now.
"On the 18th January I had the last meeting with Honda. An additional budget for Max Neukirchner is not available on the part of Honda.
"For the financing of a second driver in the Superbike World Championship a larger sum would be necessary. Despite all attempts in the last three months and in co-operation with an agency, to make this available, it was not to possible to raise this sum."
The team clairified to Crash.net that a deal with Barros has not been finalised, but that an announcement is expected in the near future, and also stated that Neukirchner's departure has nothing to do with Honda, but is only because the squad cannot afford to run two riders.
With Klaffi only running one rider, Neukirchner now has a short time to find another seat, but with the likes of Max Biaggi still yet to come to a decision, or make official any decision, there are not many opportunities left.