Former title winners Alstare return to 2021 WorldSBK Championship grid

The Belgian-based team last competed at WorldSBK level back in 2013 as a Bimota effort but is best-known for its title-winning exploits with Suzuki and Troy Corser in 2005

Alstare return to 2021 WorldSBK Championship grid

TITLE-winning outfit Alstare Racing Team has announced it will make a surprise return to motorsport and the WorldSBK Championship in 2021 after joining forces with Gil Motorsport.

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The Belgian-based team, headed up by Francis Batta, last competed at WorldSBK level back in 2013 as part of the brief factory Bimota effort but is best-known for its title-winning exploits with Suzuki and Troy Corser in 2005.

Having kept a low profile since then, Alstare is pairing up with Gil Motorsport, which announced before Christmas it would step up to the WorldSBK Championship in 2021 with Christophe Ponsson riding Yamaha R1 machinery. 

The deal will see the team rebranded Alstare Yamaha, with Batta replacing Jean-Christophe Ponsson as General Manager. 

Though there has been little news from Alstare over the past decade, the team remains one of the most storied and successful efforts to compete in WorldSBK stretching right back to the 90s when it clinched the 1998 WorldSSP title with Fabrizio Pirovano.

Progressing to WorldSBK the following year to take on Suzuki’s factory-supported efforts, it was a race winner in its inaugural season with Pierfranceso ‘Frankie’ Chili, before going on to reach the overall top five in 2003 with current WorldSBK race director Gregoria Lavilla.

After joining Honda and Yamaha in withdrawing from WorldSBK for a year in 2004 in protest against a change in the regulations that it felt favoured Ducati, Alstare Suzuki returned in style for 2005 by dominating with Troy Corser, the Aussie’s 16 consecutive podiums powering him to what remains the manufacturer’s sole WorldSBK title.

Alstare would continue to rack up wins and podiums in the years that followed with a combination of riders that included Yukio Kagayama, Max Biaggi, Max Neukirchner and Leon Haslam, before splitting with the firm at the end of 2012.

A brief sojourn with Ducati followed in 2013 in what would turn out to be a troubled year with the all-new Panigale, before a surprise switch to Bimota machinery for 2013 using the BMW-powered BB3 to compete in the shortlived stock-based EVO class that ran within WorldSBK races.

However, though the machine proved competitive at EVO level, Bimota’s failure to meet homologation stipulations saw the team disqualified from the series mid-season and its erstwhile results nullified.

Alstare does have a previous affiliation with the Ponsson family, with Christophe starting a handful of races in the British Superbike Championship on Bimota machinery.

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