by Gianmaria Rosati
The holidays are still far from over for Superbike and that means that there is still time to relax and recharge, but also to reflect on the results of this season, perhaps with an eye to the future. This is what Alex De Angelis is doing, a skilled rider in his first experience with the factory derivative bikes. An experience, however, that is more bitter than sweet, heavily conditioned by the after-effects of the terrible accident he had in the 2015 Motegi round that forced the rider from San Marino to take a long break and embark on a recovery process that is still not over.
Alex, how are you in terms of morale at this point in your career?
“There are different sides to the coin. On one hand, I am obviously pleased that I was able to get back in the saddle to compete in this championship, given the fact that last winter was truly complicated to handle. On the other hand, however, I am aware that I am still not at 100% physically, and therefore I cannot be in terms of morale either.”
What is the current physical situation?
“I can say that by now the only problem left is my right arm, where I still have not recovered strength in my bicep, whereas all the fractures are on the shoulders. So for the last three months I have focused on recovering strength in my arm, which was operated on in mid-March.”
In terms of percentage, where are you with your recovery?
“It’s hard to say because I don’t have strength in my bicep, but at the same time, I am building up the other arm muscles like my forearm, which has improved a lot in the last few months, and that has led me to change my riding style and approach. Consequently, we have also changed the saddle and footpeg positions in order to be able to push more with the other muscles and to compensate for the areas where I am lacking. The fact still remains that I am not yet fully fit and both the team and I know that, once I am fully recovered, we’ll be able to improve our results significantly.”
What is the estimated time until you are back to being fully fit?
“It will take a bit more time. Even the doctor who operated on me explained that when you touch the nerves it takes a lot of patience and a lot of physical therapy to recover. And that is what we are doing.”
How are you training?
“For the arm I am using a special electro-stimulator, similar to the ones you find in a gym. For the rest, on the other hand, I have a training programme similar to all the others. In the gym I do both cardio and free weights and I think that this month I’ll also start doing motocross and dirt track to continue preparation.”
Setting aside your physical problems for the moment, what are the other problems that have slowed you down up to now?
“In the first races we had various technical problems that often kept me in the garage, despite the fact that I was maybe the one who most needed to put in more kilometres both because of my arm and because it is my rookie year in this category. That did not help, plus the fact that, while other teams are on the track testing during this period, we are stopped. Why is that? We are not an official team, so we do not have the financial coverage for things like that.”
Let’s talk for a moment about this Superbike championship and, more specifically, its calendar. What do you think about this long forced break?
“I don’t think anyone likes it, especially those who, like us, do not test. The break period is definitely too long and there is another strange thing too. The summertime is the period when street bikers use their bikes the most and in that same period we, who are the reference championship for street bikers, stop riding. It is a break that doesn’t make much sense. Of course, we need to remember that the break was further extended because Monza was cancelled, but the fact remains that this break is not good for this category.”
What are your plans for the immediate future, in other words, next season?
“The goal is definitely to stay in Superbike, and obviously I would like to do another season with the same team and the same bike, maybe with some improvements. So I would like continuity, because changing teams, bikes and even categories every year is not exactly ideal. It would be great to create a foundation to build on. Right now this is not easy because both Aprilia’s contract with Sacchi and my contract with Sacchi are expiring, so everything is still up in the air. In any case, I can confirm that I have already been talking with other teams in the category, so it is fairly certain that I’ll be on the grid again next year.”
And for future years? Do you still see yourself in the saddle?
“Obviously, the older you get, the more it depends on your physical condition, but right now I am not even thinking about quitting. Right now even just considering a hypothetical retirement is a long way off.”