Vermeulen out of home round as knee problems persist
AUSSIE Chris Vermeulen will not partake in his home race as the World Superbike Championship roars into action this weekend.
The Kawasaki Racing Team rider has been forced to pull out of the opening round at Phillip Island, Australia.
The move follows an operation to rebuild his knee last July.
Although the star has made excellent recovery progress and is now in the final phase of rehabilitation, medics have ruled he is still not able to ride as he still has to achieve a few more degrees of bend in his knee before he is fully race fit.
Both he and the team agree that his long term recovery is of paramount importance, and as a result he will miss both this week's official IMS tests as well as the opening round of the championship this weekend.
"We decided as a team that the best thing was not race or test here at Phillip Island," he said. "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."
The team will instead be concentrating its efforts on riders Tom Sykes and Joan Lascorz this weekend, while Akira Yanagawa is replacing Vermeulen for the test.
It is hoped he will be able to be back onboard in time for the second round at Donington Park next month.
"My knee is improving and the recovery is going to plan, so hopefully by Donington I will be ready to race again," he added. "I have nearly five weeks from now to get ready for that round."