Speculation that Marco Melandri will join Aprilia Racing for the 2014 World Superbike Championship could take another step towards being confirmed after it was rumoured he may ride the RSV4 in post-season testing this week.
The Italian has been linked to the manufacturer ever since current employers BMW announced it would be exiting the season following the final round of 2013 at Jerez, while it is common knowledge that Eugene Laverty has been dropped to make way for another rider.
Having concluded his 2013 season with fourth in the standings, with one final podium finish at Jerez, Speedweek.de
is reporting that Melandri may well get a taste of his new bike tomorrow [Tuesday] in traditional post-season testing.
However, much will depend on the state of his injured ankle, which may be more serious that originally feared. Sustained prior to the final round after 'falling up the stairs', Melandri battled to second place in the first race at Jerez following an engaging tussle with Laverty, but opted to skip the second race altogether.
As it stands, just three riders have confirmed WSBK rides for next season – Tom Sykes on the Kawasaki, plus Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam on the Pata Honda -, but should Melandri join Aprilia he is expected to be joined by Sylvain Guintoli.