The influx of young talent into MotoGP may be an exciting prospect for the fans, but it is bad news for some of the current incumbents. With as many as five new riders due to enter the class next season, the older hands are having to find alternative destinations.
Fortunately for former World Superbike riders like James Toseland and Chris Vermeulen, the teams in the production-based series are ready to welcome them with open arms. As we reported yesterday, Toseland is in line for a role with either Yamaha or Honda in World Superbikes, and today, current Rizla Suzuki rider Chris Vermeulen revealed to the Australian newspaper the Courier Mail that he has offers from four major manufacturers in World Superbikes. Vermeulen is still in talks with Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Aprilia about a switch to World Superbikes, but the Australian is also examining his options for staying in MotoGP.
Vermeulen's decision will eventually revolve around where he has the best chance of scoring results. "I'm a racer and I like riding and winning, so I will go with a bike and a team that I think can win races and a championship, either World Superbikes or MotoGP," Vermeulen told the Courier Mail. At the same time, Vermeulen also pointed out that without factory equipment, it is all but impossible to win in MotoGP. "Until there are some rule changes the only way to win is on a factory Honda or Yamaha," Vermeulen said. "Even Casey has found that this season."
With the factory Hondas and Yamahas all spoken for, that leaves World Superbikes as Vermeulen's sole chance of a winning ride. Vermeulen praised the series large grid and extensive manufacturer base, pointing to the arrival of both BMW and Aprilia on the grid this season. And he also said that he did not view a return to World Superbikes as a step down. Vermeulen has unfinished business in World Superbikes, coming 2nd in the 2005 championship on a Ten Kate Honda.
Nothing has yet been finalized, but Vermeulen told the Courier Mail that he expected to make a decision soon. By the next race at Estoril in Portugal, he should know where he will be racing in 2010.