Kawasaki has confirmed Chris Vermeulen will sit out the remainder of the 2010 World Superbike season in an effort to regain full fitness for 2011.
Vermeulen has been dogged by the knee injury he sustained in a high-speed accident during his first event with the team at Phillip Island, the Australian continuing to feel the effects of the severe ligament damage several months on.
With the slow recovery process causing him to struggle over the first-half of the season, Vermeulen's progress has been dealt a further blow following an accident at Brno that has caused further damage to the knee.
As such, Vermeulen and Kawasaki have reached a mutual decision that he will suspend his race and test activities so that he can undergo immediate corrective medical treatment, including potential reconstructive surgery.
Vermeulen, a former WSBK
runner-up and MotoGP
race winner, is currently fulfilling the first of a two-year contract with Kawasaki. His acquisition at the end of the 2008 season was seen as crucial in the development of the forthcoming 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R, but just as that bike hits the track for the first time, Vermeulen is destined to take several months out.
With four rounds of the 2010 season remaining, Kawasaki will reveal Vermeulen's replacement in due course.