Chris Vermeulen has completed laps on a racing-specification Superbike for the first time in six months as he made a long awaited return to action during testing at Sepang.
Vermeulen has been on a long road to recovery since undergoing surgery on his knee back in July, the Australian determined to correct an injury sustained in February during the 2010 World Superbike season opener.
Participating in a private test session at Sepang alongside a plethora of Kawasaki counterparts, Vermeulen completed a handful of laps on the new ZX-10R, the first time he has ridden the new machine.
Though his track time was hampered by rain, Vermeulen was pleased with both the quality of the bike and the ever-improving condition of his knee.
“I eased into it today and only did a limited number of laps, over three separate runs,” he said. “I stopped before lunch today and then the rains came later in the afternoon, but we will go out again tomorrow. The new bike feels really good. The last bike I rode around Sepang was a GP machine, so to be impressed with this motorbike already shows it is a very good start.
“All the guys have done a great job in developing it. I was happy to come away with that positive impression, even after a relatively short number of laps so far. Right now I cannot quite bend my knee enough when going round right hand corners, but my knee has improved a lot over the last couple of weeks.
“Everything in the recovery of my knee is going to plan, and in fact I am quite a bit ahead of what the doctors expected. My muscle growth is good, particularly considering I have only been walking for three weeks.”
As well as Vermeulen, team-mates Tom Sykes and Joan Lascorz were out on track, as were Pedercini Kawasaki's Roberto Rolfo and Gabor Talmacsi.