Vermeulen in MotoGP return?
CHRIS Vermeulen's past two World Superbike seasons have been plagued by injury and bad results, but he may make a shock return to the MotoGP next year.
Yandina's Vermeulen – off contract with WSB team Kawasaki at the end of this season – revealed yesterday that he was in talks with MotoGP teams.
While yet to make a decision on his future, the 29-year-old said he wanted to continue racing and could return to the top next year.
“A lot of the riders in World Superbike and MotoGP are off contract,” he said yesterday.
“There are different teams in the championships I'm talking to. I have options in both championships. It's just weighing up my best options for the future.
“My focus is simply to get on a bike with a team that will give me the best opportunity to do well and win races.
“That's the only reason I'm there. I love what I do and I want to win.”
Vermeulen shifted to the MotoGP scene in 2006 after finishing the 2005 World Superbikes season in second place. He had 23 races in 2005, winning six and finishing on the podium 14 times.
In four MotoGP seasons, Vermeulen managed just one win and seven podiums.
He returned to the WSB in 2010 and has since struggled with injury.
In the past two seasons, Vermeulen has competed in just 21 races and failed to finish on the podium once.
He underwent a knee reconstruction last year after crashing and has struggled with an elbow injury recently.
“It's been frustrating. I was a very impatient person. I've had 11 years of racing profession-ally with not many injuries,” he said.
“I've had a lot of success and this has really made me change, I think, for the better.
“I've just had to deal with having time off, not being able to ride and trying to get my injuries repaired and fit again.”
Four rounds remain in the season, the next being in Germany on September 4, and Vermeulen realises he will need some points on the board to impress championship teams.
“A lot of teams know I can ride (well) and ride fast, but they want to see me fit again,” he said.
“They want to make sure that if they sign me up for a year to do a job and ride their motorbike that I'm going to be fit enough to do that.
“They're going to want to see that I'm capable and improving. I wouldn't say it's going to secure my future, but I need to get out there.
“It's going to give me better opportunities.”
Vermeulen said he would pick the team that gave him the best chance of winning races, regardless of which championship.
“The best thing is to have a team and bike that gives you the opportunity to win,” he said.
“It doesn't matter where it is. In different countries each championship is rated number one.
“They're both world championships at the top level.”