An exclusive interview with Chris Vermeulen, winner of the 2003 World Supersport title, ten World Superbike races and the 2007 French MotoGP.
After two replacement rides for Camel Honda in 2005 Vermeulen spent four seasons in MotoGP with Suzuki, claiming seven podiums - including the factory's only victory of the four-stroke era (pictured).
The popular Australian left grand prix at the end of 2009 and signed for Kawasaki in WSBK, but was sidelined for much of the two-year contract due to serious knee injuries.
Vermeulen returned to Australia to continue his recovery before a one-off return at the 2012 French MotoGP, in place of Colin Edwards at Forward Racing.
However, the 31-year-old has now officially retired from racing…
Where does the name 'Vermeulen' come from?
It's Dutch, it's really common in Holland and also South Africa as I've found out in my travels. My grandparents emigrated to Australia after the Second World War and my dad was born here, some of his elder siblings were born in Holland though.
I actually seem to have a lot of Dutch fans. When I was in GPs there wasn't a Dutch rider so I think they went for me instead, I always have a good crowd there and I've also got quite a few cousins I can catch up with. That didn't have anything to do with me joining the Ten Kate team [in WSS and WSBK] but it did mean that I felt at home there and got on really well with them.
Have you now made the decision to fully retire from racing?
Yes I have. At a personal level I sort of decided about two years ago that I wouldn't continue racing professionally when I moved back to Australia. I had a lot of time off with my knee injury, I couldn't put any weight on it for six months and couldn't bend it enough to get on a bike for nine and it was during that period that I came back to Australia.
It's somewhere I hadn't been for ten odd years and I really enjoyed being here. It was at that time that I decided to retire and stay in Australia. I'm enjoying it so far but I do miss riding the best bikes in the world.
I did it quietly, I didn't want to make a big deal out of it. I didn't feel it was necessary to make a big announcement. For the first twelve months after I stopped I still got the odd offer of a ride but now I always say 'Thank you very much, but no thanks'.
Did you feel the decision was forced on you?