News 25 Jan 2023

Aprilia move a refreshed approach for ironman Walters

Longstanding ASBK contender to field RSV4 1100 in 2023 campaign.

Image: Foremost Media.

After an extended 13-year racing tenure with Kawasaki, longstanding Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) contender Matt Walters believes his switch to the Aprilia RSV4 1100 will provide a refreshed approach for the 2023 season.

Walters has been a staple in top-level domestic road racing across the last 15 years, achieving credible success while displaying gutsy determination during his stint in green.

“We won multiple Australian and Australiasian championships with Kawi on a ZX-6 and a ZX-10, also the Ironman Award and the RK Chains Samurai Award as well,” Walters told CycleOnline. “I have absolutely no regrets, they are a good company to work with and they were always supportive through winning and losing.

“I’ve been there for 13 years, like I started there when I was 16 on a ZX-6. Obviously, we have a family shop, but they supported me quite heavily through the racing side of things. Last couple of years with covid and that, it kind of wore on me a little bit that I probably needed a change and maybe a little bit more competitive bike, but more or less a change in regards to what we were doing.”

Walters’ move to Aprilia will see him remain on Pirelli tyres, but switch to K-Tech Suspension for the first time. It also sees him equipped with a more contemporary platform, previously racing on a 2019 model ZX-10 – not the latest generation from the manufacturer.

“It’s kind of a renewed interest in what we are doing and a little bit exciting for everyone here in the shop,” Walters added. “It’s going to be a different race bike for us to build, because we’ve built Kawis for obviously 15 years, for us and for customers.

“With the bike I’m probably going to suffer from a lack of track time with it [prior to round one of ASBK], in regards to actually riding the bike. I just want to get all of the parts on the bike that we need before I ride it, just to stop chopping and changing things every time I ride it.

“I will be running Pirelli tyres, I’ve done a deal with Link International so they are supporting us with Pirelli, Motul and AGV Helmets, and it will be our first year running K-Tech Suspension as well.

“It’s going to be very different for me straight up, obviously riding and racing, and will probably get one or two track days on it – I don’t think we are going to have all of the parts for the test, which is going to be a bit of a struggle. It is what it is, I’m just going to do the best job I can with the amount of time that I have got.”

Special dispensation from Motorcycling Australia enables Walters to run the RSV4 1100 this year, with no kit ECU nominated by Aprilia at this stage, meaning he will using the standard electronics kit. Specific rules in relation to the use of the model have been released accordingly.

The 2023 ASBK calendar commences with the pre-season test next week at Sydney Motorsport Park across 1-2 February, with round one taking place later next month at Phillip Island between 24-26 February.