Kawasaki Superbike: Vermeulen Returns

2011 World Superbike Prep

The Paul Bird Kawasaki Superbike Team began a four-day test Monday at Sepang, Malaysia, as they prepare the 2011 Ninja ZX-10R the 2011 World Superbike season. And returning to the track after a long recovery from knee surgery was Chris Vermeulen.

But besides being on the track for the first time since the 2010 World Superbike round in Kyalami, it was also the 28-year-old Australian’s first experience with the new Kawasaki Ninja, which was totally revamped for 2011.

After a day at Sepang, Vermeulen reported he was impressed with the new ZX-10R, although he did a limited number of laps.

His teammates, Tom Sykes and Joan Lascorz, also were out testing for the Kawasaki Racing team; neither rider ever rode at Sepang.

Kawasaki says Sykes and Lascorz used the first day to familiarize themselves with the wide and comparatively long circuit in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, and find base settings to work with for the rest of the tests.

Chris Vermeulen (Kawasaki Superbike) says: "I eased into it today and only did a limited number of laps, over three separate runs. 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."

The Kawasaki crews will continue their Superbike work on Tuesday, take a break on Wednesday, and then complete their final tests on Thursday and Friday. At the upcoming tests, Vermeulen is expected to perform more laps than he did on Monday.

Pedercini Kawasaki is expected to join the Paul Bird team at the tests.

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