Matthew Walters is a late inclusion in the Swann-backed world superbike round at Philip Island from February 20-22, joining fellow Aussie wildcard Jed Metcher on the 25-bike grid.
The 22-year-old will ride a Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R, reuniting with the team that offered him a WSBK seat at the 11th hour in 2014 — but the association didn’t last the distance after Walters crashed heavily in Saturday practice and was a subsequent withdrawal.
This time, he’s obviously hoping to last the distance and reward the team with some quality results.
“Lucio (the owner of Team Pedercini) gave me a call, and it just went from there,” Walters said.
“I am grateful for the opportunity, and the good thing is that this time I will have two days testing on the Pedercini Kawasaki before round one kicks off – something I didn’t get in 2014.
“I am looking forward to the challenge, as it’s always great testing yourself against the best in the world. A top 15 result would be unreal in such a competitive grid.”
Walters was originally awarded a WSBK wildcard by Motorcycling Australia, but after recent testing promptly withdrew citing a lack of competitiveness from his locally prepared ZX-10R. The timely overture then came from Lucio Pedercini, with a one-event deal consummated on February 7.
Walters’ teammate will be Spaniard David Salom, who is receiving direct assistance from the Kawasaki factory in 2015.
Metcher will also ride a ZX-10R at Phillip Island, with the two Aussies and 23 internationals to take part in an official world superbike test at Phillip Island on February 16-17 as a final pre-season shakedown. On February 20, practice for round one begins in the build-up to Sunday’s two 22-lap races.
The 25 riders at Phillip Island will be spread across eight different manufacturers –Aprilia, BMW Motorrad, Ducati, EBR, Kawasaki, Honda, MV Agusta and Suzuki – with Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli to begin his title defence on a Honda.
The Phillip Island world superbike round is a three-day event, kicking off Friday morning with racing until Sunday late featuring world superbike, world supersport and a host of national support classes including superbike, supersport, Moto3/ 125GP and juniors.
Troy Bayliss will also return with a host of Australian greats of motorcycle racing for his Baylisstic Scramble dirt bike extravaganza on the new flat-track being built behind Lukey Heights.
Book in advance and get a three day pass for $110* or Sunday only just $75*, and cart along the kids, because 15 and under are free. Camping at the circuit is also available. Go to www.worldsbk.com.au or call the circuit hotline on hotline on 1 300 728 007.