New major sponsor Newcastle Hino outlined for 2024 ASBK effort.
Aprilia-mounted Matt Walters suffered a fractured wrist during a race one fall at The Bend, which prematurely ruled him out of the 2023 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) finals, but he will be back on the grid next season.
Walters crashed at turn 13 during the opening encounter at round seven, suffering a radial fracture that sees his left wrist in a cast. It marked his first incident of the season and with the RSV4 1100.
“I’ve got a radial fracture in my left wrist, I think it will be about four weeks until it will be right,” Walters told CycleOnline. “It’s not a huge injury, but they said to just put it in plaster. You could probably leave without plaster, but they were pretty insistent on putting it in plaster and making sure it is right.
“Other than that, into turn 13 the bike got a little unsettled, because the bike was struggling with gear changes, and as far as I’m aware it just got unsettled and I lost the front on the way out of the corner. I was already into the corner and actually tucked the front on the way out, which is really strange.
“To be honest, I haven’t even had a warning, the bike has been great haven’t had anything, to be honest. I had no dramas with the bike up until this point, it was the first moment I’ve had with it and I thought ‘oh yep, I’m gone’.
“I kind of fell a little bit weird through the gravel and I think that’s how I did my wrist, because it wasn’t a real dangerous crash, it was pretty much just a normal low side but I think I have just fallen wrong and got the wrist on the way through.”
Despite the early exit from South Australia, Walters and his team were able to address some of the issues that impacted his efforts at Phillip Island, while other areas he is still looking to iron out.
“We fixed a lot of the problems from Phillip Island, but we are still running into a few dramas with the bike,” he added. “The software is still so new to us, we have had no real testing with it, we had one or two track days with it. It’s been a bit of a struggle, but we are slowly getting through it.
“I think probably spend a few more days on the dyno with time to try and figure out what the software does to the bike, and where it works and where it doesn’t, to try and make it operate correctly.”
With this year marking Walters’ first year onboard the Aprilia, he has confirmed his intentions to race on with the platform in 2024, with support from new major sponsor, Newcastle Hino. Following his recovery, he plans on competing in the St George Summer Night Series races at Sydney Motorsport Park.
“We are going to continue with the Aprilia project and we have got a new major sponsor for next year, Newcastle Hino,” he continued. “We are looking forward to 2024 and the guys from Newcastle Hino have indicated they want to be there pretty seriously, which is great for us and our little team.
“We have just got to speed up the process for 2024, I’m not going to be able to ride for a couple of weeks. That’s no drama, we have got a dyno at work and we have just got to make it happen. I think the progress will be really good for us.
“We have slowly got our way around the Aprilia, what it wants, what it needs, like the chassis and the engine part of it is fantastic, there is no dramas there. The reliability of the new engine they have brought out, it hasn’t missed a beat – the engine that this bike has got is fantastic, there are no reliability issues which is great for us.
“I think with Newcastle Hino coming onboard, it’s a refreshed approach and they are really keen on the Australian Superbike series, which is even more beneficial for us.”