Tommy Hill has taken his first tentative steps to becoming a World Superbike rider in 2009 by travelling to Cartagena in Spain as part in a two-day test with the Althea Honda team.

A somewhat nervous time for Hill given it was during testing twelve months ago that he first injured himself in a serious accident, this outing was also the first time he has mounted a racing bike since being hurt again on his return to competition at the Nurburgring mid-season.

Nonetheless, depsite missing the whole of his maiden World Supersport season, Hill will graduate back to Superbikes in 2009 aboard a sole Honda as a replacement for Stiggy-bound Roberto Rolfo.

Returning to the saddle for the first time in months, Hill was impressed with his first outing on the bike, not least because he now feels fully fit again.

"My first day on my new Honda Superbike was fantastic. I'm very happy because my physical condition is now very good and my leg has healed progressively well. I really enjoyed riding my new bike and working hard with my team.

"I'm satisfied with the tests carried out on the electronic and on the traction control. A great job has also been done on the suspensions. I'd like to thank all of my technicians for the great job and dedication shown here in Cartagena. Tomorrow we'll continue to work on the motorcycle set-up."

Meanwhile, Althea also gave their new Supersport line-up of Mark Aitchison and Matthieu Lagrive a run out, with both riders pronouncing themselves happy with their first impressions.

"'I?m really happy to be part of the HANNspree Honda Althea team and I'm satisfied with the work done today," said Aitchison, who raced with Triumph in 2008. "I am also very pleased with the team?s method of working. I am getting to know the new bike and I?m very excited about this new challenge.

"After today's tests I immediately found a good feeling with the bike and the technicians. We did not change the bike set-up but tomorrow we'll start working on suspension and setting."