Chris Walker is determined to vindicate Paul Bird's decision to bring him back to the World Superbike paddock as he continues to adapt himself to faster machinery at Brands Hatch.
The former race winner returns to the championship this weekend with Vent Axia VK, nee Paul Bird Motorsport, after the team built second Honda bike to join Gregorio Lavilla in the team.
Although MotoGP 250 rider Eugene Laverty was originally in line for the ride, sponsorship issues forced him to withdraw, thus allowing Walker to assume his place in the team for what will be the remainder of the season.
“It all came about purely by chance,” he admitted to Crash.net Radio
. “They were looking for a second rider for the two British rounds, so I had a sneaky word with Paul at one of the races. I had read that they couldn't field Eugene Laverty because of reasons through sponsors, so Paul asked if I fancied a go and that was it!”
Stepping up from the World Supersport Championship, where he has been racing the largely riled Kawasaki ZX-6R for Gil Motorsport, Walker admits he is finding it difficult to rediscover his Superbike riding technique, but is satisfied that it is returning with every opportunity on the bike.
"I could do with a bit more time on the bike, but I have been really enjoying it and I am getting more consistent every time I get on it. Hopefully we will be on the pace at Donington Park.
"I don't think I ever cracked the Supersport riding style because I had gone straight from 250 to Superbikes and then spent a long time on them. The speed difference is the main thing and the bike feels like an absolute monster compared to a 600! It is a great bike, but I need a bit more time."
Despite toiling towards the back end of the grid after qualifying in 23rd position, Walker was still pleased to be just 1.4secs off pole position before Superpole and is confident he can make another significant step forward in the races.
“It is fantastic to be back,” he told Crash.net Radio
. “This is a big chance for me to get back in the championship and Birdy (Paul Bird) has given me a big opportunity to see the season out with them, so I am determined to do a good job this weekend.
“I haven't qualified as high as I would like but to be only 1.4secs off pole position before Superpole is not bad considering I had only had three hours on the bike. Fingers crossed we'll make a few changes overnight and have a good warm-up, then we can get a strong result.”