Aussies revvedupfor opening
FIVE Australians will be on the grid for the opening round of the World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island on February 25-27.
Mark Aitchison this week announced he had been contracted to race the season with the Italian-based Team Pedercini Kawasaki.
He’ll join 2010 national superbike champion Bryan Staring in the Pedercini garage, after Staring secured a wildcard ride with the team for the Phillip Island round.
The pair will join SWBK regulars Troy Corser (BMW) and Chris Vermeulen (Kawasaki), along with 2009 national champion Josh Waters, who will race for Yoshimura Suzuki.
Aitchison, 27, left Australia after finishing second in the 2006 Australian Supersport Championship.
He was fifth the next year in the FIM 1000cc Superstock Cup on a Suzuki. In 2008, he was Triumph-mounted in the Supersport World Championship. He remained in that title the following year when he was eighth on a Honda, with a number of top five finishes to his credit.
Aitchison competed in several 600cc World Supersport Championship races towards the end of the 2010 season, before beginning negotiations to make the switch to the 1000cc superbikes.
‘‘To say I am excited now about my season ahead is a major understatement,’’ Aitchison says.
‘‘To race in the World Superbike class has always been a dream of mine and to be given this opportunity with a team that has such long history in World Superbike racing is something I am very proud of.
‘‘I’m looking forward to this new challenge, and I’m especially looking forward to getting back on to the Phillip Island circuit, which I love to race on.’’
Aitchison will have his first ride on the new Kawasaki ZX-10R in the second and final official preseason test at Phillip Island on February 2122, ahead of the championship round at the spectacular seaside circuit starting February 25.
Broc Parkes is the sole Australian in the World Supersport Championship. A three-day general admission ticket is $130. Go to worldsbk.com.au or ph: 1300 728 007.
Excited: Mark Aitchison is keen to race.