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Vermeulen targets seventh

Chris Vermeulen is hoping that unpredictable Phillip Island weather could help him repeat his 2006 home podium, during his final Australian MotoGP appearance for the foreseeable future.

After four years in MotoGP with Suzuki - during which he has taken the factory's only win of the four-stroke era (in the wet) plus six further podiums - Vermeulen will return to the World Superbike Championship in 2010, having signed a two-year deal with Kawasaki.

The means Vermeulen has just three more rides on the GSV-R, during which he aims to climb from eleventh to seventh in the championship.

“In 2006 when I was on the podium here conditions were similar to today, so you never know what might happen,” said Chris on Thursday. “It's been a tough season but we've been improving the bike slowly but surely. Estoril was a good step for us; it was a track where we had really struggled at. Fingers crossed that will help us here as well.

“I'd love to leave Suzuki on a high. We're challenging for seventh place in the championship. My team-mate [Loris Capirossi] is there at the moment and he's only seven points in front of us. It's quite close and that's our target. If we get there I'll be quite happy.

“I've signed a two-year deal with Kawasaki in the World Superbike Championship. I've been there before [with Honda], but it's a new challenge and I'm looking forward to it. My focus right now is these last three races and I've got a lot of work to do in them before I throw my leg over a completely different beast.

“If we could step on the podium here it'd be something special for sure.”

No Suzuki rider has finished on the podium so far this season.

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