With the 2014 MotoGP season about to get underway, at least one team is likely to miss the first test of the year at Sepang, from 4-6 February. Speaking to the official MotoGP.com website, new signing Leon Camier said that the plan was to skip the first Sepang test and only attend the second test, taking place at the end of the month.
The reason for the delay is simple. The IODA Racing team is yet to sign a contract with Aprilia to supply them with bikes, despite the season being close to starting. According to the Italian magazine Motosprint, IODA are still haggling over the price with Aprilia, though an agreement is likely to be reached. Both Aprilia and IODA have an interest in reaching an agreement: IODA, as they do not really want to spend another season on the Suter BMW, undeveloped almost since its introduction two years ago; and Aprilia, as the IODA team is the only team willing to take the ART machines, with PBM having only signed up to use Aprilia's engines.
At the EICMA last year, Piaggio boss Roberto Colaninno announced Aprilia will be back in MotoGP as a factory team in 2016, and to achieve that, the Noale factory needs a team to assist with development. The IODA team would appear to be a strong candidate, led as it is by Giampiero Sacchi, the man who ran Aprilia's racing program for many years. IODA's problem is money, and Aprilia will have to finance a good deal of the effort themselves.
The bike which IODA would use would be a 'laboratory bike' being used to develop a machine for Aprilia's factory return. Motosprint reports that a new engine could be ready for use this summer. Though no details have been announced, it is expected that this could include the pneumatic valve cylinder head and seamless gearbox which Aspar had discussed with Aprilia at the end of 2013.