Chris Vermeulen started his first World Superbike race in nine months at Assen, though his persistent knee injury would only allow him to complete eight laps over the course of the day.

The Australian showed encouraging form during the timed sessions, setting times just adrift of the closely-matched mid-field and qualifying 18th.

Proceeding to take to the grid for the first time since last year's Brno round, Vermeulen ran well early on to sneak into the points. However, his fitness would begin to tell soon afterwards, Vermeulen slipping back down the order before eventually calling time on his day on lap nine.

Despite this, Vermeulen was pleased with his progress and is certain he will be able to sustain a full race weekend next time out at Monza.

"I stopped just because of a lack of strength in my leg but we went out to try and complete the full races," the Kawasaki rider insisted. "We still got some useful data in any case. My leg just cramped up and I had to stop after a few laps. My pace was not so bad and I was holding down a points scoring position but I just could not get to the end.

"This is the first time I have been able to feel the bike really working, and I made some set-up changes because I was pushing at a decent level sometimes this weekend.

"I am happy with what the team has done but we have a lot of work still to do, just because I am a long way behind my team-mates in learning the bike at present. I think I should be ready for a full weekend of racing at Monza."



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