Chris Vermeulen Set To Miss Opening Round

Kawasaki Racing Team rider Chris Vermeulen has been withdrawn from the first round of the World Superbike Championship this coming weekend at Phillip Island in Australia.

Following an operation to rebuild his knee last July Chris has made excellent progress and is now in the final phase of rehabilitation after such complex surgery. His doctors are very pleased with the progress that has made to date but an evaluation prior to the current official IMS test sessions at Phillip Island has confirmed that Chris still has to achieve the final few degrees of bend in his knee joint to regain 100% of his race fitness.

Riding his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R at race pace now would aggravate the knee and almost certainly delay his full recovery. Chris and the team have agreed that his long term recovery is the most important thing for all concerned, meaning that Chris will miss both the official IMS Phillip Island tests, which are underway in Australia right now, and the first round of the championship on Sunday 27th.

Vermeulen will concentrate on increasing the intensity of his training over the next few weeks, with the target of returning to action at the re-introduced Donington Park round at the end of March.

Chris Vermeulen: “We decided as a team that the best thing was not race or test here at Phillip Island. It is unfortunate because it is my home round and I have gone through such a long recovery already. It would have been nice to start off the season fit and strong but we did not want to risk any further damage to my knee. Just as importantly, I am not fit enough to compete at the top level yet so it is better to not ride at the moment. My knee is improving and the recovery is going to plan, so hopefully by Donington I will be ready to race again. I have nearly five weeks from now to get ready for that round. ”

Akira Yanagawa will replace Vermeulen for the Phillip Island tests and the team will concentrate their full efforts for race weekend on Chris’s fellow regular KRT riders, Tom Sykes and Joan Lascorz.