Chris Vermeulen played down his fairly low position on the timesheets after three days of testing in Portugal, claiming a combination of factors prevented him from featuring higher.

Vermeulen made his long-awaited public debut aboard a Kawasaki at Portimao, but was stymied early on in the test by being one of only two riders not to have ridden the circuit before.

While rain on day two of the test helped Vermeulen climb the order by virtue of his well-regarded ability in slippery conditions, it meant he only got one day of unhindered dry running. However, when a technical issue late in the day prevented him from joining his rivals in setting a lap time on softer rubber, he was left 14th on the overall timesheets.

As such, the Australian, who joins Kawasaki after four years in MotoGP with Suzuki, was unfazed by the results, insisting he could have been inside the top ten had he gone out on soft tyres.

"It went quite well but we were a bit unlucky with the weather and it is great to have learned the track before we come back here to race. We have different issues, but we are definitely improving the bike and it is moving forward in the right direction.

"To be honest I did my best time on the standard, hard race tyre. At the end we had a small technical problem so we could not use the soft race tyre. I hoped to be closer to the front than the gap we have now, but I think it is realistically more like one second. I think we will get there."

Team-mate Tom Sykes followed Vermeulen in 15th, although he was still being hampered by the shoulder injury he sustained towards the end of the 2009 season.

"My shoulder injury was feeling bad after day one but the guys at the Clinica mobile did a good job and that has made it much better ever since then. Obviously we did a lot of work on the bike to get to the bottom of a few things.

"On our latest suspension there are areas where we have improved and generally there is a better feeling of what's happening with the combination of tarmac, tyres and suspension. The feeling at the handlebars is definitely better overall, giving more direct feedback.

"We have progressed, but we still have some work to do. I am sure we can bring what we need to Phillip Island."

Chris Vermeulen's Portimao test card

Friday AM: 1min 45.957s - 17th Friday PM: 1min 44.576s - 16th Saturday AM: (wet) 1min 55.299s - 3rd Saturday PM: (wet) 1min 54.816s - 12th Sunday AM: 1min 44.732s - 13th Sunday PM: 1min 44.108s - 14th

Overall: 1min 44.108s - 14th

Tom Sykes's Portimao test card

Friday AM: 1min 45.142s - 14th Friday PM: 1min 44.365s - 12th Saturday AM: (wet) 1min 58.269s - 10th Saturday PM: (wet) 1min 50.616s - 5th Sunday AM: 1min 45.234 - 15th Sunday PM: 1min 44.365s - 15th

Overall: 1min 44.365s - 15th


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