Francis Batta is the man behind the Alstare Team that has been running Suzuki’s factory effort in World Superbikes for a long time now. However last year Suzuki pared down its operations in both World Superbikes and MotoGP by chopping off one rider and bike from each of the efforts. Presently Michel Fabrizio rides the lone Alstare Suzuki in World Superbikes while Alvaro Bautista does the same in MotoGP. MotoGP has announced that from next year motorcycles up to 1000cc with intake restrictions on the engine can be raced. All manufacturers except Suzuki have announced their plans. Sometimes rumours suggest that Suzuki is on the verge of pulling out completely and at other times the talk is about Suzuki racing the 800cc bike. In World Superbikes too Suzuki has stopped development of its bike and is being tight lipped about what it intends to do. Again there is talk about a pull out.
However, Francis Batta the Belgian who runs the Alstare operation does not want to quit racing. There was talk that his’ was one of the franchises that was being considered to run the factory Kawasaki effort from next year on but Batta has said that his loyalties are with Suzuki. However, in the absence of development of the motorcycle, Batta believes that he may choose to explore other avenues. One of them now seems to be MV Augusta. Batta has not denied that he is in negotiations with MV Augusta now being run by Giovanni Castiglione (the son of Claudio Castiglione who recently passed away and was the man responsible for resurrection of Ducati and MV Augusta apart from founding Cagiva) for putting together an operation to run MV Augusta motorcycles either in Superbikes or 1000cc Superstock or even the 675cc three cylindered MV Augusta in Supersport. Nothing is clear though.
However, bringing MV Augusta into World Superbikes is an immensely desirable thing. The problem lies with monies. A few years ago Claudio Castiglione sold MV Augusta to Harley Davidson since he was cash strapped. Harley Davidson gave it back to him for a nominal price when they found themselves in the recession brought on in America by the sub prime housing loans that were not serviced. The question is can Batta and Giovanni Castiglione find money in a cash strapped Europe which is yet to recover from the recession? The answer seems like a no. If that is indeed the final answer, it would be a pity, a very huge pity.