Back in the groove
Chris Vermeulen is on track to ride again soon, writes Mark Hinchliffe
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.