News 23 Nov 2009

WSBK: Vermeulen completes first test for Kawasaki in Japan

Vermeulen has made his Kawasaki debut in Japan.

Vermeulen has made his Kawasaki debut in Japan.

Queenslander Chris Vermeulen has completed his first Superbike test for Kawasaki on the ZX-10R, taking part in a two-day test at the Autopolis Circuit in Japan late last week.

Vermeulen’s Kawasaki test saw him complete just three hours in the saddle over the two days, with freezing conditions ruling out any possibility of quick lap times, said to be just over a second off the regular pace on the WSBK-spec Pirelli tyres.

The opening day of the test was cancelled due to the cold conditions, with Vermeulen completing just over 30 laps on the second day on a Japanese Superbike Championship-specification ZX-10R.

“The weather was so cold on the first day that we didn’t do any laps,” said Vermeulen. “Nobody went out to do a lap on day one because it got a maximum of one degree and it was freezing cold! The second day was a bit better. I got out about 1pm and at least it was sunny. The air temperature got up to about six or seven, the track temperature got up to about 14 degrees.

“I was just riding to get the bars, footpegs and seat in the right place. Just general things like that, all the early stuff you try to get done. We played around with some small set-up things as well. On the chassis side the bike felt well balanced and did everything fairly well for a first ride in the conditions we had. It was pretty much just a basic test. I guess I did somewhere between 30 and 40 laps, between one and four o’clock.”

Vermeulen will test again at the end of this month at Cartagena in Spain, which will mark his first official outing on the Paul Bird Motorsport Kawasaki World Superbike that he will race in 2010.

The former WSBK series runner-up will return to the Superbike category fulltime next season after a disastrous season with Suzuki in MotoGP this year, looking to return to the form that saw him win nine races in 2004 and 2005 – his only seasons in WSBK before embarking on MotoGP.

Vermeulen will be partnered by Tom Sykes at PBM Kawasaki in 2010, the pair making for an entirely new Team Green next year as they replace Broc Parkes and Makoto Tamada on the factory-supported squad.