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MotoGP Q&A - Chris Vermeulen

The problem was that I was so keen not to miss any races. That was so important so as to develop that bike as well. With hindsight if I'd come back a bit later I could have come back stronger, sooner.

After my major surgery the team were saying that I didn't have to come back to test in Malaysia but I flew over anyway to try. After eight laps on the bike my knee swelled up and I was in quite some pain and maybe I shouldn't have done that. When you're racing at that level though you can't give an inch to anyone and sometimes have to make decisions that in retrospect seem a bit too extreme.

It was my fault for coming back too early and if I hadn't there might have been a different outcome, I don't regret that decision but I have learnt from it for my life in general.
Have you made enough in your racing career to be financially secure now?

Chris Vermeulen:
I guess you could say yes though it depends on your lifestyle. Toni and I like to live pretty simply if you don't count the elaborate toys I've got in the garage so we should be able to manage.

I've also got some business interest such as the dealerships and some commercial properties which not only keep me busy but also generate a reasonable income. From that point of view racing certainly set me up and when I was winning I was paid quite handsomely for doing so that's for sure.
Which bike class do you think provides the best racing and entertainment?

Chris Vermeulen:
From a pure racing point of view WSBK is in a different class to MotoGP though when you look at the smaller classes like Moto2 and Moto3 they give some great racing too.

MotoGP isn't so exciting because it's like Formula 1 where it's all about the technology and development. I still prefer to watch it though because I find that aspect interesting, also I still have some friends in that paddock and that gives me a little bit of an inside picture with regards to what's happening on track.
Do you think MotoGP is in a good state?

Chris Vermeulen:
I don't know, and why I say that is because it isn't in a worse state than when I was racing and it wasn't too bad then. It's still quite popular and people still find it interesting.
How would you make the competition closer?

Chris Vermeulen:
That's difficult. I think that Dorna would like to make it more of a controlled sport and what they've done to the tyres is the first step of that. I believe they would also like to reduce the ultimate grip of the tyre which would allow everybody to get to the grip limit of the tyre easier. At the moment the bike is pretty much being developed for the tyre. I remember at Suzuki, when the control tyre came out our bike couldn't use it and we had to go back and redesign the chassis so that we could even use the front tyre.

The control ECU is another aspect of that control philosophy. Electronics in MotoGP are a massive thing and they can absolutely transform a bike. I think that Honda's advantage over Yamaha is purely due to electronics. Honda and Yamaha spend more money than the others and therefore have access to better electronic management and therefore have a gap to the others.

by Christian Tiburtius

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January 20, 2014 7:42 PM

Great interview and I can relate to him, eventually you realise that there is more to life than fighting politics and living out of a suitcase. Was interesting reading his thoughts about riders and the current state of MotoGP.

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