Alex Hofmann believes Aprilia can make a significant impact on the World Superbike Championship straight away as they continue the intensive build-up to their arrival in 2009.
A brand with considerable racing history across the biking spectrum, Aprilia is expected to race a pair of new RSV-4s in the championship next season, bolstering a portfolio that currently sees them competing in the 125 and 250 MotoGP classes.
However, while news on the Aprilia project has been on the relatively quiet side recently, particularly compared to fellow newcomers BMW, test rider Hofmann is confident they are on track to make a considerable impact in their debut season.
“I think they can do great straight away,” he told Crash.net
. “The main problem will be the missing data for all the race tracks and conditions, but Aprilia is not entering to fill the grid. They will be a surprise for sure.
“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 though and I am sure we will get some official news pretty soon.”
Currently, no riders have been confirmed, but Hofmann is expected to be in with a good chance of securing one of the bikes having helped the team develop the bike from scratch. Furthermore, he believes he is capable to wringing top ten finishes out of the bike from the off if he gets the chance.
“No decisions have been made yet about the riders, but I would love to race. After seeing the bike grow and get 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.
“I don't know what the other factories will bring for 2009 but I would be happy to get the maximum out of the bike every single lap and race day. If that would be straight away in the top ten, then that is OK with me!”
Indeed, while the former Kawasaki and d'Antin rider continues to miss MotoGP after leaving the series mid-way through last season, Hofmann is content that the World Superbike Championship is by no means a substitute championship.
“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...“
Read the FULL interview HERE