Chris Vermeulen: 2009 is not make or break
The former World Supersport champion penned a new one-year deal with Suzuki’s factory team last September and will again partner Italian veteran Loris Capirossi next season.
Vermeulen is still the only rider in the modern four-stroke era to win a race for Suzuki, and he’s been the Japanese factory’s most successful rider since Kenny Roberts Junior won the 500cc world crown back in 2000.
But he is desperate for Suzuki’s GSV-R to get a performance overhaul after a tough 2008 saw him claim only two podiums and his best result in the last five races was only ninth.
Asked if 2009 was a make or break year for him, Vermeulen told MCN: “I don’t see it that way. Every year I go in wanting to be world champion and that is my focus. So that’s what I will be aiming at.
"It’s not like I want be here to do a good enough job to just to go and do something else. I want to fulfill my ambitions and that’s the reason I’m staying one more year to do that with Suzuki.
"But if we don’t move on as much as the others next year then I will have to consider other options, if I have them.”
Vermeulen’s 2009 contract with Suzuki, where he has spent three seasons, has no options written into it.
So Vermeulen is free to begin negotiating whenever he pleases, though on the flipside, Suzuki can also begin the search for replacements if they desire.
“It’s a straight one year deal, no options, that’s what I wanted, “said Vermeulen.
“Hopefully I can be at Suzuki for many years, but it will be my decision.”