Forward Racing has announced that Chris Vermeulen
will replace Colin Edwards
in the forthcoming French MotoGP
at Le Mans.
Edwards broke his collarbone when fellow CRT rider Randy de Puniet
collided with the Texan in qualifying at Estoril last Saturday.
The 38-year-old underwent surgery on Monday and plans to return to MotoGP
action at the Catalunya round.
Former Suzuki MotoGP
star Vermeulen will take Edwards' place on the team's Suter-BMW for round four, from May 18-20.
The easygoing Australian, a grand prix rider from 2006-2009, took his and the GSV-R's only MotoGP
win in the wet at Le Mans in 2007.
Vermeulen then returned to World Superbikes, with Kawasaki, for 2010 but has spent much of the last two years sidelined by injury and was without a ride for 2012.
“First of all I would like to wish Colin a speedy recovery. I am grateful to have the opportunity to race back in MotoGP
with the NGM Mobile Forward Racing team," said the former World Supersport champion and ten-time WSBK
"I am looking forward to my first time on the bike being at Le Mans, a circuit that holds great memories for me including a victory in 2007. I am excited to be racing at the top level of motorcycling again and look forward to working with the team."
Vermeulen, 29, has seven MotoGP
podiums to his credit and a best finish of sixth in the world championship (2007).
Forward Racing managing director Marco Curioni expects Vermeulen to fit in well with both the team and bike.
"Several members of the team have previously worked with Chris and I believe that he will imediately find a good feeling with the team," he said.
"Vermeulen is an expert rider in MotoGP
with experience working with the electronics and the correct use of the tyres, which are two areas in which we are currently working.
"Chris has previsouly won at Le Mans and knows the track well.I would like to wish Chris good luck and send all my best wishes for a quick recovery to Colin, who is on his way back home."
In the two events before his injury Edwards had claimed a best race result of twelfth, in Qatar, when he was also the top CRT rider. Edwards flew back to Texas today (Wednesday) to continue his recovery.
Factory BMW WSBK
rider Leon Haslam was the other name linked to the ride... by Edwards on Twitter!