Mark Aitchison says he is confident of achieving greater success during his second season of World Superbike Championship racing after securing a surprise deal with Grillini BMW for 2012.

Aitchison made his WSBK debut in 2011 riding the Pedercini Kawasaki, the Australian going on to defy his lack of Superbike experience by making six Superpole appearances and cracking the top ten twice aboard satellite Kawasaki machinery.

His performances duly caught the eye of Andrea Grillini, who will make a return to the WSB fray this season with a 2012-specification BMW S1000RR prepared by his eponymous team.

Bidding to build on his 2011 efforts, though Aitchison is aware of the challenges associated with joining a relatively small operation, he says it was a positive factor in his decision to sign.

"I'm really excited about this new challenge ahead of me in 2012", Aitchison said. "My first year in SBK was very important, I learnt a lot and I hope it's the turning-point for more success next season. The Grillini team was interesting for me because it's made up of a small group of people who have the ambition and desire to work as a team and this was a factor in my decision.

"We know that it'll take some time to develop the BMW, especially as the championship is about to start shortly, but with the programme we have ahead of us I know we can reach the aims we've set for ourselves. Now I can devote myself to training and getting ready for the first tests before the opening round at my home track in Australia."

Team Grillini last raced in the World Superbike Championship in 2008 with a single Yamaha entry, though it recently returned to the international stage by testing its own BMW-engined CRT bike alongside the MotoGP regulars at Valencia in November.

However, with Grillini failing to receive a formal MotoGP entry in 2012, the team has instead turned its attentions to the World Superbike Championship.

"I am delighted with the choice of rider," declared team manager Andrea Grillini. "The agreement came after more than a month of negotiations but I always thought that Mark could be an ideal rider for us, and allow us to have high ambitions in the World Superbike Championship.

"We still need to define some of the team members, but Mirko Serraino will be chief engineer. A big thanks to SCB Group who follow the rider and to Paolo Ciabatti of Infront who has enthusiastically welcomed us into this championship."

Aitchison's entry brings the number of confirmed WSBK 2012 riders to 21. In addition, Pedercini Kawasaki hasn't announced its plans this year, though Leandro Mercado is set to campaign one of the team's two anticipated ZX-10Rs.

The Australian's deal also means Noriyuki Haga is now the only full-time WSBK rider from 2011 not to have their plans for 2012 already determined. The Japanese rider has maintained a very low profile over the winter, though most recent rumours have placed him on a Ducati prepared by DFX Corse, who in turn have broken away from the PATA Racing operation it competed with last year.


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