Chris Vermeulen, who badly damaged his right knee during his World Superbike comeback at Phillip Island, expects to be fit for the upcoming fourth round of the season, at Assen on April 23-25.

"My knee is improving every day since I had keyhole surgery over a week ago and I have a good feeling in most of its range," said the factory Kawasaki rider. "The difficult part now is getting enough bend but also strength and stability in my knee to race at Assen because I don't want to turn up to just ride around.

"I am getting physiotherapy every day and it's still a week until I need to be on the bike so I am optimistic that in that time it will have improved even more by then.

"I really enjoy racing at Assen and have had successful results there in both Superbikes and in MotoGP, I also get a lot of support there because of my Dutch heritage. I therefore hope that I can put on a good show and be fit enough to compete and join the team once again," he reiterated.

Vermeulen was replaced by Simon Andrews last time out at Valencia, who was fortunate to escape without more serious injuries after an enormous race two accident.

Vermeulen's team-mate Tom Sykes has started all six races to date, scoring points in five of them with a best finish of eleventh in race one at Valencia.

"Valencia was a tough race for us but I feel that we can take a lot of positives from those races. We worked hard all weekend on chassis issues and finally it came together on Sunday morning and we produced some good consistent lap times in the race," he said.

"Looking ahead to Assen I hope we can continue with the progress we have made over the past few races and put in solid on-track performances throughout the weekend.

"The Assen circuit hasn't always been so kind to the ZX-10R but we're due some good fortune and with Chris coming back, we hope that this race we'll be able to showcase the hard work that both myself and the team are putting in behind the scenes."

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