Chris Vermeulen will miss the opening round of the World Superbike Championship season next weekend according to a report in the Australian press.

The Kawasaki rider has been out of action for a number of months after undergoing surgery on the knee injury he sustained at Phillip Island last season, which he then reinjured at Brno later in the year.

Despite working hard to recover from surgery, Fox Sports has revealed that Vermeulen and the Kawasaki team were forced to take the decision after fitness test at Phillip Island, where testing is due to take place this week ahead of the opening event of the year.

According to the report, Vermeulen was capable of riding but wouldn't have been able to lap competitively for a full race distance, leading to the decision to give him more time to focus on his recovery.