It’s now official: there will be Aprilias on the 2016 WorldSBK grid with new riders Alex de Angelis, Grand Prix winner and ex- MotoGP™ rider, and Lorenzo Savadori, reigning STK1000 winner, confirmed to race the marque at the opening round at Australia’s Phillip Island.
The news was confirmed at the eleventh hour, by team IodaRacing, with three weeks to the island kick-off. San Marino’s De Angelis and his Italian teammate, Savadori, will be riding the Aprilia RSV4 RF, the bike that won the last two races of the 2015 campaign in the hands of Catalan rider Jordi Torres and Brit Leon Haslam. Their first track adventure will be at the final pre-season test at Phillip Island from February 22-23, just days before the 2016 season start on February 26.
Alex De Angelis, who suffered a serious crash during the MotoGP™ weekend at Motegi in Japan last October, said:
“My current physical condition is as yet unknown. 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,”
Said De Angelis who has tasted victory at Phillip Island before, when he won the Moto2 race in 2011.
“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.”
Lorenzo Savadori is thrilled to race in the top class and said:
“I’m very happy, because these few months have been quite challenging given the news has only just arrived, but I’m glad I waited and happy to continue my career with Aprilia. I’m also happy to work with IodaRacing, who have so much experience and come from MotoGP™, just as I am to have Alex De Angelis as a teammate for the same reasons. The goal is to learn as much as possible, it will be the first time on a Superbike for me and I don’t know the Pirelli slicks, which are a big change. I’ll give 100% to learn everything. Phillip Island as a track isn’t somewhere I know well, the last time I rode there was in 2010 on a 125 and everything will be completely different. I want to thank everyone who has helped me to get here, and special thanks to Aprilia, my manager Lucio Pedercini and to the team for the opportunity.”
Race formats for WorldSBK have been rejigged for 2016, with the traditional double-header race-day Sunday for WorldSBK jettisoned in favour of one race each day, with both 22-lappers to be held at 3:00pm on Saturday and Sunday (Feb 27 and 28) respectively.
WorldSBK will still practice and qualify Friday and Saturday, but Superpole has been moved up to Saturday to run from 12.30pm prior to the 3:00pm Saturday race.
The WorldSSP race at Phillip Island will be held over 21 laps at 1:20pm on Sunday, with qualifying Saturday.
Entry to the 2016 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship, Yamaha Finance round,Phillip Island from February 26-28 will cost $115* for a three-day pass, $80* for a Sunday only pass, while kids 15 and under are free**. On circuit camping is just $100* for four nights, with kids 15 and under free** Visit www.ticketek.com.au for tickets; or www.worldsbk.com.au for info.
* Advance ticket prices only, delivery and processing fees may apply.
**Children must be accompanied by a paying adult