Indy MotoGP: Chris Vermeulen determined to stay in MotoGP

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Axed factory Suzuki rider Chris Vermeulen has spoken of his determination to stay in the MotoGP world championship in 2010. Vermeulen, who remains Suzuki’s only four-stroke MotoGP winner, will be replaced by Spaniard Alvaro Bautista after a four-year stint with the Japanese factory. Speaking after Suzuki announced Vermeulen’s departure in Indianapolis yesterday (Thursday), the 27-year-old said: “Of course I am disappointed that Suzuki has decided not to renew my contract for next season, but I am absolutely committed to continuing my career in the top flight of motorcycle racing. MotoGP has been my life for the past four years and I still have unfinished business here. I am a fighter and I know that with the right technical package I am capable of battling with and beating the best in this sport. I have never had any doubts over my riding ability and I always work to get the full performance potential from the bike and myself in every race I contest.” Vermeulen’s standout performance came in 2007 when he won a rain-lashed French GP in Le Mans and he added: “The Le Mans win has been the highlight of my career so far and it will always remain a special feeling to have taken what is Suzuki’s only four-stroke victory to date. The 2007 season was extremely competitive and I think is the best indicator of my riding ability and potential. We took some very competitive podiums that season as well in Donington, Laguna and Misano which helped me put up a strong challenge for the tightly-contested fourth place in the championship.” Vermeulen has endured a disappointing 2009 campaign though and going into Sunday’s Indianapolis race, he sits only tenth in the overall standings with a best result of fifth in Assen back in late June. The former World Superbike runner-up added: “It’s not been an easy season for me, but we have been scoring regularly and consistently improving. I have scored points in every race this year and we are chasing the top six in the championship, so my motivation is firmly intact and the fact that I am looking for a new team for the 2010 season only reinforces that. My aim is to finish the season, my final year with Suzuki, on a high both for myself and the team, and keep proving that I deserve to keep my place on the MotoGP grid.” Vermeulen is currently in talks with the Tech 3 Yamaha squad and has also been linked with an LCR Honda switch. He was only 12th quickest in today’s rain-lashed opening Indy practice session.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt