For a rider who was on the podium as recently as Valencia in 2009, and was a strong race winner in 2008, recent times have been tough for the most successful German rider in World SBK history, Max Neukirchner.
Frequent serious injuries to his leg and back saw his promising 2009 season fall apart after the first big crash at Monza, and insult was added to injury by the fact that it was bad luck and not rider error that put the brakes on his climb up the ladder.
A move to the Ten Kate Honda team for 2010 was a dream move, the team having taken several riders who had come to a crossroads in their careers and helping them to move upwards again. As the results of his team-mate Jonathan Rea have indicated, the Honda appears to be a top package one weekend yet a more challenging one next time, until recently at lest.
Neukirchner and his team made a real breakthrough for raceday at Silverstone, Round 10 of the WSBK Championship, going from 18th on the grid to 11th in race one. But for a technical DNF in race two he would have been on course for another finish in the points, closing in as he was on the top ten.
Speaking on Sunday night Max was buoyed by his raceday change of fortune, with even his no-finish a mere addendum to his positive train of though.
Max Neukirchner says: “(At Silverstone) we were nowhere and we made some good improvements today. The first race was brilliant, and I was able to ride some good laps, but in race two the bike just stopped. I think it would have been possible to get into the top ten. That was the first time this year I feel I have had a very good feeling from the bike and I could fight with some other guys.”