Chris Walker will not ride for the Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki team in 2012 after it was revealed that he has been released in favour of youngster Joe Burns.
The BSB veteran, runner-up in 1997, 1998 and 1999 and 20-time race winner, was due to compete with Pr1mo Racing, whom he raced with in 2011, following its decision to join forces with Bournemouth Kawasaki, but the team has now confirmed Burns will be joining James Hillier, rather than Walker.
Taking to his personal website to indicate his disappointment at being dropped with little warning, Walker suggests his acquisition was simply to help secure the team an 'Elite Team' BSB entry.
“I sadly have to report that Pr1mo Racing have flicked me for the young up and comer Joe Burns for 2012,” he said writing in his blog. “I don't know all the in's and out's as yet as the team boss Dan Cheevers has failed to call me, but it appears he has had yet another u-turn after three separate handshakes on three different occasions for next season and using my name to help them qualify for the Elite Teams entry.”
Walker says he will now be working hard to resume a place on the BSB grid before the start of the season as he looks to establish himself as a title contender once more.
“It's a real shame it's at my cost and the timing could have been somewhat better as most of the teams have their rider line up sorted by now, but I do wish Joe Burns all the best for next season aboard a superbike - a great one at that.
“I'm just picking up the pieces and trying to find something that will see me on the grid on a competitive bike and for a somewhat more stable team. I truly believed a second year on the same bike and with the new rule changes would have seen me close the gap on the top teams and fight for a place in the top six showdown.”
Confirming Walker's revelation, Pr1mo says Burns, who raced for the team in the National Superstock 1000 series, will be promoted to BSB riding duties, while Joshua Elliot, who has been competing in the European Superstock 600 Championship will ride the 'stock ZX-10R.
“I am delighted that we have been able to secure two, new, up and coming riders for the 2012 season and we aim to give them the right tools to further their racing careers,” said team principal Cheever.