By Christina Bulpett

Mark Aitchison says he is 'optimistic' about his chances of securing a full-time ride in the World Superbike Championship next year following an eye-catching return to competition with the Pedercini Kawasaki team.

Since his return to the satellite Kawasaki team in place of the injured Alexander Lundh, Aitchison has made a convincing pitch for a longer-term future in the series by scoring consistent points' finishes, including a top ten result at Laguna Seca.

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Indeed, with the final round of the season at Jerez looming just over a week away, only Pata Honda and Kawasaki Racing have firmed seats in their 2014 line up. Furthermore, with BMW pulling out from full factory support and the imminent introduction of the 'Evo' class, the remainder of the paddock's future is far from decided.

As such, the Australian is hoping his strong showing over the past three months will be enough to secure a permanent ride on the world stage for 2014, adding that the changes to the World Championship are a positive step forward.

"I think the option is quite good for the future," Aitchison, who campaigned a full season with Pedercini Kawasaki in 2011," told Crash.net. "I'm quite optimistic about staying here for next year, I want to be here and I'll do everything in my power to stay here.

"I think the new rules will be a good opportunity for riders in domestic championships who are looking to move in to the championship and that's very important because we need a healthy championship, and for a healthy championship we need more riders, we need more teams and hopefully that will bring more supporters."

In the meantime, Aitchison heads into the off-season looking to avoid the uncertainty that followed his full 2011 campaign with Pedercini. Indeed, the following two years would prove difficult and though Aitchison would go on to secure a spot on the WSBK grid for 2012 with Grillini BMW, the relationship was shortlived.

"I had a secure position in the Pedercini squad, and for me was a very good year actually. I had a good rhythm with the bike, working really closely with the technicians all season long and they really nurtured my Superbike debut. In 2012 I managed to pick up a BMW privateer ride with the Grillini squad but the bike was not what I was promised, so it was a real backwards step in terms of what I had ridden in 2011. We got to race number three and then it all fell apart."

A very brief stint in BSB followed, but due to a hand injury sustained at Cadwell Park and the team's subsequent withdrawal from competition a month before the 2013 opening race, Aitchison again found himself back in the WSBK paddock, this time on an Effenbert Liberty Ducati. However, his time with the infamous Czech team would prove frustratingly brief.

"I was basically shooting myself because I didn't know how to ride a Ducati, I didn't know who the guys were around me, I didn't know anything about the bike until Friday morning [of the first race weekend] and it was a bit of an eye opener.

"It was basically a mix of three riders' bikes from last season, and it was put together so quickly and so abruptly that it was just a bit of a mess to be honest. Unfortunately I was involved in some pretty serious Italian political taxation offences from our team boss and that led to me and the squad again basically braking down."

"However, it was a step for me to get back in to the paddock so people knew I was here. It was very important for me to keep myself involved, get back into this paddock and to stay mentally aware that I can still do this."

The uncertainty of motorcycle racing struck again at the mid-point of this year's season, but this time it was in favour of the Australian rider. Pedercini Kawasaki rider Lundh crashed during the second qualifying session at Imola, fracturing the fifth metacarpal bone of his left hand and damaging his right wrist. Lorenzo Savadori initially took the ride for the subsequent round in Moscow, before the Italian stalwarts of the WSBK paddock chose to recall Aitchison back into the fold.

"Pedercini are a huge family. Essentially these guys have been together for the last ten or twelve years, and they've been here every race - I don't think they've missed a race - and Lucio himself obviously rode in grand prix, it's fantastic. I'm receiving a phone call about a week before every race to say 'listen do you want to come and ride again?' and I'm all in for that. Number one: I love riding. Number two: I like riding the Pedercini Superbike. It's good to be back in this paddock again and I need to be here."

Since his return to WSBK competition at Silverstone, Aitchison has scored in eight of the ten races he has participated in and has repeatedly out-performed the team's regular rider, Federico Sandi.