Chris Vermeulen is finally back on a racing bike at the official Kawasaki test in Sepang this week, after only beginning to walk “a couple of weeks ago,” according to his personal Twitter account. According to Kawasaki on this first day of their week-long winter test, “Vermeulen had never ridden the new bike before today and was instantly impressed with it.” Both factory teammates Joan Lascorz and Tom Sykes had already ridden their Kawasaki World Superbike machines, but had not used the Sepang facility as Vermeulen has.
The factory team is joined by Team Perercini riders Gabor Talmasci and Roberto Rolfo, as posted at A&R last week. This is Vermeulen’s first time on his new WSBK ride after his knee surgery. He was quoted by the team as saying, “I eased into it today and only did a limited number of laps, over three separate runs…The last bike I rode around Sepang was a GP machine, so to be impressed with this motorbike already shows it is a very good start.” He also made a point of praising the team for their hard work and good development.
Regarding his knee, Vermeulen said, “Right now I cannot quite bend my knee enough when going round right hand corners, but my knee has improved a lot over the last couple of weeks. Everything in the recovery of my knee is going to plan, and in fact I am quite a bit ahead of what the doctors expected. My muscle growth is good.” This news bodes well for the rapidly approaching season as there had been some speculation that Vermeulen might not be ready for the season opener in Phillip Island, but Kawasaki is adamant in suggesting otherwise. Vermeulen has not tweeted since leaving for Malaysia.
Though the team did not release any times from the test, it was particularly clear in saying, “Sykes and Lascorz used the first day to familiarize themselves with the wide and comparatively long circuit in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, and find base settings to work with for the rest of the tests.” Combined with Vermeulen’s continuing recovery, there is no was no way to know how Kawasaki will stack up against the competition in 2011.
Source: Kawasaki Racing