Aprilia has played down rumours that 250cc world champion Marco Simoncelli will ride a third RSV-4 in the opening rounds of the 2009 World Superbike Championship.

Simoncelli has been linked to a WSBK outing since he took up his 'prize', a test with the team alongside Shinya Nakano and Alex Hofmann, as a result of winning the 2008 250cc world championship with Gilera, a sister brand of Aprilia.

Proving just a second slower than MotoGP veteran Nakano, both of whom were experiencing the bike for the first time, 21-year-old Simoncelli's performance was thought to have put him in with a chance of an outing in Australia and Qatar with Nakano and Max Biaggi.

However, although they admit Simoncelli's image makes him a tempting prospect for their burgeoning WSBK project, an Aprilia source insists it wouldn't be possible for the team to build an additional bike for him at this moment.

"It would be great for the company from an image point of view, but logistically it would also be very difficult to prepare six or even five bikes for Biaggi, Nakano and Simoncelli, as well as put together the extra technical crew for the two overseas races."

Aprilia will next be seen during group testing in Portimao later this month as they continue the preparations for their return to the World Superbike fold following several years away.