With considerable MotoGP experience under his belt, Alex Hofmann was always going to be a shrewd choice for Aprilia to develop their new World Superbike contender, the RSV-4.

Indeed, as he targets a full-time ride with the legendary Italian marque in 2009, he reveals that we can expect a surprise from them when they arrive. In short, Aprilia are not entering World Superbikes to make up the numbers...

Crash.net
It has been a little quiet on the Aprilia front recently - is the plan still to debut in the World Superbike Championship in 2009?

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AH:
As far as I know - definitely! It's been quiet around Aprilia as they first have in mind to win important Championships in 125 cc and 250 cc GP this season. The Aprilia RSV-4 is their future and I am sure we will get some official news pretty soon.

Crash.net
How has testing gone so far and how far developed is the new bike?

AH:
Testing has gone really well. I have rode the first prototype at the end of last year. The engine came straight out of the factory and had never seen a race track. Since then, the progress was really impressive and I see all the potential for a real strong and competitive bike. The project is still young and there is much more to come.

Crash.net
Given your time on the bike, how likely is it that you will secure a full-time ride with Aprilia in 2009?

AH:
No decisions have been made yet about the riders, but I would love too. After seeing the bike grow and getting faster every time, it would be cool to race it. I really enjoyed this experience and I hope I can stay with Aprilia. After my MotoGP experiences, I really felt at home this year and had a lot of fun working the Aprilia Test Team.

Crash.net
How many bikes will Aprilia enter? Who would you like to see on the bike, other than you?

AH:
There is no such wish list I guess. Troy Bayliss would be my choice. Great guy - fair racer and always the benchmark on a Superbike. Are you sure you want to quit Troy!?!?

Crash.net
What do you think Aprilia can hope to achieve from the season?

AH:
I think they can do great straight away. The main problem will be the missing data for all the race tracks and conditions. Aprilia is not entering to fill the grid. They will be a surprise for sure.

Crash.net
If you performed with Aprilia, what sort of results would make you happy?

AH:
It is hard to judge for me. I don't know what the other factories will bring for 2009. I would be happy to get the maximum out of every single lap and race day. If that would be straight away in the top ten, then that is OK with me!

Crash.net
With BMW entering World Superbikes next season too, do you feel this is the championship to be associated with now, compared to MotoGP and its dwindling grid numbers?

AH:
World Superbike is coming definitely. You can ask the fans out there how they feel about it. The grid is full, the races are tight and exciting. MotoGP is still the biggest show on two wheels but they have to rethink the Championship. Laguna Seca was breathtaking - Brno was lulling to sleep.

Crash.net
We've seen Max Neukirchner get Germany on the Superbike map recently - is this the start of an golden era for up and coming German riders?

AH:
Nobody can predict golden eras. The only thing I know is that not Aprilia nor myself would line up at WSBK just to be there and have a great time. We would love to be there, have a real great time and give everything we have in our pockets to be fast and successful.