Chris Vermeulen faces a race to be fit for the second round of the World Superbike Championship next weekend at Portimao, as the Australian battles to recover from the injuries he sustained at Phillip Island.

The Kawasaki rider suffered an injury to his right knee when he fell at the Hayshed and is currently unable to bend his leg enough to sit on his factory Ninja ZX-10R.

Despite that, Vermeulen said he was still hopeful of lining up on the grid and was confident that the Kawasaski would be a competitive package, after a tough start to the year for the team yielded just three points down under.

"My knee is improving each day but at the moment I cannot bend it enough to sit on a bike so I'm hoping by race weekend I will be able to," Vermeulen said. "I did quite a bit of damage to my right knee in the crash at Phillip Island with five tears of ligaments, cartilage and muscle. I still have some swelling in the area, pain and limited movement in my knee joint.

"I really enjoyed the Portimao circuit which I first rode around in the test earlier this year, it's exciting to ride with the undulations and blind corners and we were reasonably competitive on the ZX-10R. I think this circuit will suit the bike.

"I haven't been able to do any physical exercise since the crash but I do train very hard and know I will have a good base fitness level to move forward. The challenge for Portimao is to be in the top ten but our goal is to be hopefully even higher up."