Vermeulen eager to get back to business
After a longer than expected sabbatical after major knee surgery, Chris Vermeulen is “hanging out” to get back into the business of world Superbike sparring, starting at the Yamaha round at Phillip Island next week (February 21-22).
That’s when the easy going Queenslander will take part in an official two-day test session at Phillip Island, prior to the opening round back at the Victorian seaside circuit from February 25-27.
“This is the longest time I have spent off a bike in my entire career,” said Vermeulen. “I really can’t wait to jump on the all-new Kawasaki ZX-10R and just start cutting some laps again.
“Of course, the number of laps I squeeze out at the Phillip Island test will depend on the condition of my knee.
“It certainly has plenty of strength and stability now, but the biggest issue is I can’t bend it how I want to – or to the degree that racing at the highest level demands. And when I push the knee too hard I get swelling and pain in it.
“That’s why the test will be a delicate balancing act – I want to spend a lot of time of the bike to work on set-up, but I don’t want to push too hard and set back my recovery.”
Vermeulen first attempted to ride his ZX-10R at Sepang (Malaysia) in early January, but after only a few exploratory laps he called time.
Since then, he’s been back at his home on the Sunshine Coast not only receiving the full gamut of medical treatment on his knee, but also swimming, cycling, paddling and the gym to build strength.
“It’s certainly been frustrating, but to Kawasaki’s credit they haven’t been pushing me,” continued Vermeulen. “The company has told me it wants to finish top six in 2011 and then really push for the championship in 2012.”
Vermeulen will be joined at Phillip Island with six of his countrymen in the world championship classes – in world superbikes Troy Corser (BMW), Kawasaki duo Bryan Staring and Mark Aitchison, and Suzuki’s Josh Waters; and in world supersport Broc Parkes (Kawasaki) and Mitchell Pirotta (Honda).
Staring and Waters both have one-off wildcard entries.