Alstare, Gil Motorsport forced to split after Francis Batta falls ill

Ill health for Francis Batta forces Gil Motorsport and Alstare to split; Team won't enter Christophe Ponsson's Yamaha for WorldSBK Assen round

Christophe Ponsson - Alstare Yamaha, WorldSBK, 2021

Alstare Yamaha has become the second team to announce it won’t be on the grid for Round 5 of the 2021 WorldSBK Championship at Assen, following the news team manager Francis Batta has fallen ill.

Doctors have advised the Belgian from travelling anywhere for the remainder of the year in order to protect his health, leading to his Alstare team and Gil Motorsport to split altogether.

Gil Motorsport is aiming for a return to action during Round 6 at Most, Czech Republic once the it has been reorganised in Batta and Alstare’s absence.

“I am extremely touched by what is happening to Francis, it has been more than 20 years that we have known each other,” said team owner Jean-Christophe Ponsson. “In 2003 and 2004 I was sponsor of Alstare before the debut in 2005 of Gil Motor Sport in WorldSSP with his former rider, Stephane Chambon, with whom Alstare was Supersport World Champion in 1999. 

“So it’s so obvious to me and the team that Francis needs to make his recovery a priority. I want to thank Francis for the work he has done since the start of the season and I wish him the best for his health. 

“Now Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha will do everything to ensure that the team is present from the WordSBK round in Most in the Czech Republic.”

One of WorldSBK’s best-known team managers, Batta and his Alstare team made a surprise return to WorldSBK in 2021 in conjunction with French outfit Gil Motorsport, which made its debut entering a Yamaha R1 for Christophe Ponsson.

Alstare went on to establish successful ties with Suzuki during the early 2000s, resulting in title glory in 2005 with Troy Corser. This was the first season since 2013 - when it briefly entered the shortlived EVO class with Bimota machinery - that Alstare has fielded a team.

It is the second team to withdraw for this weekend's event after RC Squadra Corse pulled Eugene Laverty's BMW out on financial grounds, but MIE Racing Honda will be back with Leandro Mercado.

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