World Superbike debutant Alex de Angelis concedes he isn't yet entirely sure of his physical condition on a motorbike having not ridden since suffering serious injuries in a MotoGP crash four months ago.
The Sammarinese rider – who is a former podium winner at MotoGP level –spent two weeks in intensive care at the University Hospital of Dokkyo in Mibu, Japan after a high-speed spill during the Japanese MotoGP at Motegi.
Since returning home, de Angelis had been working on his fitness ahead of a proposed return to action in MotoGP with Ioda Racing, but will now follow the team in making the switch to World Superbikes to run a pair of Aprilia RSV4s.
Having missed the 'unofficial' pre-season tests in Spain, de Angelis is set to get his first taste of Superbike machinery at the two-day Phillip Island test instead, just ahead of the Australian opener.
However, not only will he be adapting to the bike itself, he will need to build himself into 'match fitness', admitting he doesn't yet know how he will fare.
“My current physical condition is as yet unknown,” he said. “Since the crash I've not ridden and the test before Phillip Island will also be important for that reason. I can't fully contract my biceps and so I don't have much strength in my right arm. It's all a question of time.”
Reflecting on the prospect of racing in World Superbikes, de Angelis is hoping Ioda Racing has a chance to be more competitive than it ever could be in MotoGP.
“In the test I'll get my first taste of a Superbike, which I've never tried before. I'm sure that IodaRacing have a greater chance of doing well in WorldSBK as opposed to MotoGP and I hope to get back into the top positions, which I haven't been able to do for a while and I miss it.
“The Aprilia was a winning bike at the end of 2015 and we will have to see what the difference is now after the other marques have been working over the winter. I expect and hope that Aprilia won't just prove a supplier but also an integral part of the team.
“I regret not having been able to test over the winter, but it is what it is and we'll use the first couple of races as a test and make progress as soon as possible..”