Cessnock’s Matt Walters joins Phillip Island WSBK grid

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.

Matt Walters (1)

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.

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