Alex de Angelis has made his first outing on the Aprilia World Superbike machine at Jerez as his IodaRacing Team gears up for 2016.
The San Marino rider enjoyed his track debut with the Aprilia RSV4 RF which marks his first circuit action since his horrific crash in FP4 at the Japanese MotoGP at Motegi. The IodaRacing rider had to be put into a medically-induced coma after suffering a lung contusion, rib and spinal fractures as well as a bleed on the brain.
After making a positive recovery from the life-threatening injuries the former MotoGP podium winner is aiming for a fresh start in World Superbikes with his Italian squad.
IodaRacing Team has picked up the two Aprilia RSV4 RF machines leased by World Superbike organisers Dorna from the Italian manufacturer after it withdrew its factory squad to concentrate its efforts in MotoGP. The Italian squad moves from MotoGP - where it ran an ART machine with de Angelis in 2015 - and into World Superbikes as the sole Aprilia representative.
Despite the unfavourable weather conditions and morning rain limiting track time for de Angelis, he says he needed some to notch up some laps to shake off any rustiness having not raced since his Motegi crash in early October.
“Aprilia gave me a chance to test here and I said yes straightaway,” de Angelis said on worldsbk.com. “For me it was important to get out on track after four months away. I can't say much about how I find myself physically because I've only done 30 laps in a couple of days, and I couldn't really test myself to the limit. I just wanted to stop myself feeling rusty.
"At the end of today I at least managed to use the slicks, and I did ten laps consecutively. I go into Australia feeling calm; like I can complete a normal race weekend. Riding shouldn't be a problem, we'll have to see how my arm issues affect my performance and if I can be competitive from start to finish."
Assessing his initial feeling with the Aprilia WSBK machine, Pirelli tyres and unfamiliar electronics package, de Angelis leaves Jerez feeling upbeat with the early progress and is already eyeing the 2016 season opener at Philip Island as the ultimate test for him and IodaRacing. The World Superbike grid will also have a two-day test at the Australian circuit during the week before the first round on the 26-28 February.
“My feedback is very positive,” he explained. “It's a tyre that moves around a bit more than the MotoGP tyres and so it makes you feel comfortable straightaway because it helps you understand the limit of the bike more. The only thing I would have liked is to have been able to test more and get back to the top of my game and back to being competitive.
“We know that for us the Phillip Island races will be more like a test, where I'll go to a track I know and with a good few kilometres there under my belt. I think then I'll really be able to push."
IodaRacing is set to enter two bikes into the 2016 World Superbike championship with de Angelis being joined by last year's FIM Superstock 1000 Cup winner Lorenzo Savadori who claimed the title on Aprilia machinery.