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Fast-rising Austrian 125 Michael Ranseder is the first rider to join the new Chinese Maxtra 125 grand prix project, and will make his racing debut on the exciting and innovative new machine at the first GP of 2009.

The 22-year-old 125 racer, who stormed to victory in the German championship at the age of 18, will join the intensifying Maxtra test programme directly after the end of the season.

“I am very excited by the prospect,” said Ranseder, currently recovering from injuries sustained in a crash during free practice for the Australian GP.


“The Maxtra is an all-new and technically very interesting design, and there are some big names behind it. I feel lucky to be selected for such a high-level project, and very committed to playing my part in it.”

Maxtra racing chief Simon Wei, speaking from the massive Haojue factory base in China, said: “We are very happy to confirm our first rider. This is an important step for Maxtra. The testing programme has been very encouraging, and now Michael will bring more speed and good GP experience to our fledgling team.

“We are very serious about this first-ever fully original Chinese racing machine, and expect Michael will be a great help as we move on to the next level.”

Ranseder made his full-time GP debut in 2006 with the KTM Junior team. Moving to Derbi in 2007, he showed his quality with nine top-ten race finishes and 12th overall, in the most competitive class in motorcycle grand prix racing.

In 2008 he gained maturity and experience, and another top-ten finish, on a lower-level Aprilia.

Project leader Garry Taylor said: “Michael is the first of two riders who will campaign the Maxtra in 2009. With his grand prix experience, he will be a valuable addition to our test programme, as we take the Maxtra from a clean sheet of paper towards our goal of being fully competitive.”

Taylor added: “We have not yet chosen a Team mate for Michael. Discussions are in progress with several very interesting prospects, but the second position is still open for discussion. The future of some teams is always uncertain at this time of year and so there will be some key riders who have been left waiting on a promise. We want to hear from them.”

The innovative 125cc Maxtra has a unique “upside-down” engine designed and developed by two-stroke racing guru Jan Witteveen. The Team will be based at the Harris Performance facility in the UK, although the whole project is owned and financed by Haojue, China’s leading motorcycle company with a production output of over 3 million machines in 2008.

The two rider Maxtra team will make its historic racing debut in the first GP of 2009 in Qatar.

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