Chris Vermeulen has been named as the replacement for Colin Edwards in the NGM Mobile Forward Racing team for the Le Mans round of MotoGP. Edwards broke his left collarbone in a crash during free practice at Estoril, and has decided after surgery to skip the French Grand Prix and return at Barcelona in early June.
Vermeulen has been named as replacement for Edwards because of the Australian's prior experience on a MotoGP bike. Vermeulen spent four years in MotoGP with the factory Suzuki team, and spent all that time using Bridgestone tires. Vermeulen also has form at Le Mans: he won his only Grand Prix at the circuit, albeit in the pouring rain in 2007. After losing his ride with Suzuki in MotoGP, Vermeulen returned to the World Superbike series to race with Kawasaki. A series of bad crashes left the Australian struggling with a serious knee injury, and having problems racing. Just as it looked like Vermeulen may have returned to full fitness, he was left without a ride in WSBK. To return to MotoGP, on a bike still in the midst of development, places a rather heavy load on the shoulders of one who has not raced for nearly 10 months.
Below is the press release announcing the replacement of Edwards by Vermeulen:
Chris Vermeulen at Le Mans with NGM Mobile Forward Racing
The Australian rider Chris Vermeulen will be substituting for Colin Edwards at the Le Mans Grand Prix next week. Vermeulen has a four years previous experience in MotoGP with a factory team from 2006 until 2009.
Colin Edwards has left the Instituto Unversitario DEXEUS this morning and is currently on his way home to the USA. He will begin physical therapy in about a week.
“First of all I would like to wish Colin a speedy recovery. I am grateful to have the opportunity to race back in MotoGP with the NGM Mobile Forward Racing team. I am looking forward to my first time on the bike being at Le Mans, a circuit that holds great memories for me including a Victory in 2007. I am excited to be racing at the top level of motorcycling again and look forward to working with the team.”
Marco Curioni – Managing Director
“In this unfortunate situation that sees Colin Edwards unable to race until the Catalunya GP, we take the opportunity to involve Chris Vermeulen in the team for the Le Mans GP. Several members of the team have previously worked with him and I believe that Chris will imediately find a good feeling with the team. Vermeulen is an expert rider in MotoGP with experience working with the electronics and the correct use of the tires, which are two areas in which we are currently working. Chris has previsouly won at Le Mans and knows the track well. I would like to wish Chris good luck and send all my best wishes for a quick recovery to Colin, who is on his way back home.”