The first race of the 2008 Superbike World Championship this weekend in Qatar sees the dawning of a new era for Team Alstare Suzuki.

After ten years with the same sponsor, it’s all change for the new season. And the changes don’t stop there, for this year’s Alstare Suzuki team also features two new riders. With crowd favourite Yukio Kagayama staying though, the new three rider line-up is a fascinating blend of youth and experience. All three riders have enjoyed their winter tests and are fit and ready for the championship’s kick-off this coming weekend.

Yukio Kagayama:

“Last season was one to forget and I am determined not to have so many hurtful crashes. The winter tests have gone well and now it’s time to see how well we will stack up against our competitors in a race situation. I think that the competition will be even harder then last year, but I am excited about the prospect of lots of tough racing because this is what I enjoy!”

Fonsi Nieto:

“It took a while to get used to the Alstare Suzuki GSX-R, but every time I rode the bike I became more and more comfortable with it. Testing is one thing, but now it’s time to see how we go in a race. There are so many different factors in a race compared to testing and it’s going to be very interesting for sure. Of course, this year is going to be very hard because the series has become stronger and there are many good riders and bikes out there, but I am looking forward to the challenge.”

Max Neukirchner:

“My new experience started with the winter tests, but I feel I know the team and mechanics now and we are working together really well. The Suzuki I rode last season was nothing like the Alstare Suzuki, so there has been lots to learn. But I am so happy to get this chance with a team like Alstare Suzuki and I am determined to give it everything I have.  There are so many good riders this year, but I think I can get some good results and have some fun at the same time.”

Francis Batta – Team Manager:

“We have done a lot of work over the winter months and I seemed to have spent a lot of time in meetings trying to get everything organised for this season. It’s been tough, but now I’m looking forward to being at the racetrack and getting involved in the racing again. We have an interesting rider line-up this year – a good mixture of experience and youth – and it’s going to be fun working with the three different characters throughout the long season ahead and see how they perform. We are under no illusions about how hard this season will be, but we at Alstare Suzuki like this kind of a challenge and will be giving it 100 per cent – as usual.”