Alex de Angelis finally had the opportunity to ride a bike for the first time in four months as he tested out his new Aprilia RSV4 RF at MotorLand on Thursday.
De Angelis, who made the switch from MotoGP to World Superbike this year, had been out of action after suffering head, lung, rib and spinal injuries following a horrific crash during the practice round of the Japanese Grand Prix in Motegi in October last year.
Despite rain hindering his progress in the morning, De Angelis managed to get through 10 laps in the afternoon after the weather cleared up, with his best time coming on his final lap.
The 31-year-old admitted that he was glad to be able to test out the bike prior to the first race of the season at Phillip Island later this month.
“Aprilia gave me a chance to test here and I said yes straightaway,” he told reporters. “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.”
When asked about the Pirelli tyres, De Angelis said: “My feedback is very positive. 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.”
With the first race of the season right around the corner, De Angelis revealed that he will use the Phillip Island round to find his feet before becoming a lot more competitive.
“As I said, I’ll head into Australia feeling calm after this test, 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,” he said. “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.”