Chris Vermeulen is closing on a long awaited return to the World Superbike Championship after suggesting he is nearing full fitness in time for the second round at Donington Park.

The Australian has embarked on an arduous journey towards fitness since injuring his knee more than a year ago in an accident at Phillip Island, Vermeulen even forced to skip the 2011 opener as a precaution.

Nonetheless, while the former MotoGP rider - who has not raced for 250 days now - was disappointing to sit out his home event, he accepts it was for the greater good in order for him to return competitively, starting with Donington Park in less than two weeks time.

"I had my heart set on racing at Phillip Island in front of a big home crowd and all of my friends and family," he said, writing his blog for the Motocycling Australia

"Unfortunately my knee wasn't quite right, but to know that I will be closer to 100 per cent fit for the round at Donington gives me great confidence, so when I get back on my Kawasaki I will be competitive from the first lap."

Vermeulen has not raced since undergoing surgery at the end of July 2010 when he went under the knife to treat the injury first sustained five months earlier. He has ridden the new Kawasaki ZX-10R just once during a brief outing at Sepang in January.

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