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.
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.