LUKE HEDGER is hoping to take another step closer to his ultimate dream of riding in the MotoGP after opting to race in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship.

The Yate-based racer is looking forward to his new challenge of riding 600cc bikes with the Gearlink Kawasaki team this year after being crowned Monster Energy Motostar 125GP British champion in 2012.

Hedger, 17, knows he has a long road ahead of him if he is going to follow in the tyre tracks of hero Jorge Lorenzo but is keen to continue the rapid progress he has made since starting minimoto racing as a nine-year-old.

“That is my dream. It is quite far away but I hope I can make it and I’ll have to put in hard work,” said Hedger.

“Any step can get you closer, it’s what you can do in it. If I do well it could open my options up for 2014.”

Hedger will continue to ride at tracks such as Brands Hatch and Donington Park in support to British Superbikes.

He tested his new bike for the first time at Mallory Park this week and although he believes it will take time to adjust that has not stopped him from setting some high targets in his first season.

“For the first race I just want to qualify because there are so many riders and it’s so hard to qualify,” he said.

“As the year goes on hopefully I will finish in the top three in the Championship.

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a lot different but there’s no point having an easy challenge.”

Hedger made big strides forward during his two years in the Motostar 125GP British Championship and was pleased to leave on a high. He said: “I definitely improved and was going a lot faster. Between 2011 and 2012 at every track I was a second quicker.

“After I won there was no point doing it. I was looking for a good team and a good competitive bike and they (Kawasaki) came up with what we were looking for.”

Hedger’s older brother Dan also raced in the National Superstock 600 Championship in 2009, but suffered a crash in the third round and never returned to racing due to a lack of funds.

Their mum, Julie, insists Luke may also have had to give up doing what he loves if it wasn’t for the support he received from Yate-based company 1st choice flooring.

She said: “It’s very hard out there and there are a lot of racers not doing it because of funding.”