Back in the groove

Chris Ver­meulen is on track to ride again soon, writes Mark Hinch­liffe

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Bikes -

WORLD Su­per­bike rider Chris Ver­meulen is con­fi­dent he will make the first test ses­sion on his Kawasaki in Jan­uary, de­spite still be­ing on crutches four months af­ter knee surgery.

‘‘I feel as if I can walk now, but I am just erring on the side of cau­tion and am fol­low­ing the timetable set down by my doc­tors,’’ says Ver­meulen, the 2003 world su­per sport cham­pion whose world su­per bike sea­son was cut short in July by surgery, af­ter he crashed heav­ily in the open­ing round in Fe­bru­ary at Phillip Is­land.

The Kawasaki team rider has been con­va­lesc­ing in Spain, but has re­turned for a two-month Christ­mas break with his fam­ily on the Sun­shine Coast be­fore head­ing to Malaysia in Jan­uary for a pre-sea­son bike test.

‘‘Once I ditch the crutches, the next step will be get­ting on a lit­tle Kawasaki dirt bike and get­ting back into the groove of rid­ing,’’ he says.

‘‘In the mean­time, I’ll con­tinue with the weekly physio and plenty of time in the gym and surf.’’

Ver­meulen, 28, has 10 world su­per bike vic­to­ries to his name and is con­fi­dent he’ll be com­pet­i­tive in the open­ing round of next year’s world su­per bike ti­tle at Phillip Is­land from Fe­bru­ary 25-27, de­spite a short pre­sea­son.

‘‘The other rid­ers have all started test­ing, but by the time Phillip Is­land comes around, hope­fully I will have had nine full days of test­ing,’’ he says.

‘‘That should put us in rea­son­able shape, and from what I’ve been hear­ing from the other guys (2010 team­mates Joan Las­corz and Tom Sykes) the new bike is a real weapon, and Kawasaki has man­aged to sort out the biggest is­sue with the old bike — a chas­sis that just wouldn’t let it carry a huge pace on high-speed cor­ners.’’

Mean­while, Wol­lon­gong’s dual world cham­pion, Troy Corser, now has a high-qual­ity team­mate in world No.2 Leon Haslam, to help de­velop BMW’s S1000 RR su­per bike.

Rea­son­able shape: World Su­per­bike rider Chris Ver­meulen is hop­ing to com­pete in the world ti­tles at Phillip Is­land in Fe­bru­ary.

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