James Ellison says he’s ready to be thrown in at the deep end in Jerez this weekend when he takes to the track with the likes of Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi for the first time since returning to the MotoGP world championship.
The Paul Bird Motorsport rider is desperate to get in vital miles on the new Aprilia ART machine ahead of the first race in Qatar on April 8.
The 31-year-old has only had limited track time on the bike that’s based on Aprilia’s RSV4 World Superbike machine in two previous test sessions in Jerez and the Motorland Aragon in Spain.
He only had two days on the bike in Jerez last month and a planned two-day session at the Motorland Aragon track earlier this month was badly disrupted by gusting winds and cold temperatures.
Ellison, who last rode in MotoGP in 2006 with the Tech 3 Yamaha squad, told MCN: “It is going to be vital to spend as much time on track as I can this week.
"I’ve got used to riding the bike but I need to be thrown in at the deep end just to speed things up a bit, so getting out on track with all the guys is going to do us the world of good.
"I’m sure it is going to be a shock to the system. The last time I raced was Superstock 600, so being on track with Stoner and Lorenzo will be pretty interesting.”
For a seven page round-up of the Jerez test, see next week’s Motor Cycle News, available on March 28.