Chris Vermeulen returns to Kawasaki for 2011 but will have to miss the season opener due to his injured knee.
Kawasaki Racing Team
The Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing team has already been dealt a blow with the recent news that Chris Vermeulen will not be racing at Phillip Island. Last July the Australian underwent surgery to repair his knee, and his progress has been good throughout most of the off-season. However, Vermeulen’s official IMS tests revealed that he was unable to fully bend his knee joint, and as a result he will have to hold-off on participating in the series until Donington Park at the end of March.
“It would have been nice to start off the season fit and strong but we did not want to risk any further damage to my knee,” said Vermeulen. “Just as importantly, I am not fit enough to compete at the top level yet so it is better to not ride at the moment. My knee is improving and the recovery is going to plan, so hopefully by Donington I will be ready to race again.”
Tom Sykes will return again as Vermeulen’s teammate after claiming an unexpected pole position in 2010.
Returning for Kawasaki in 2011 is Tom Sykes. The 25-year-old from Britain claimed 14th in the 2010 series. Sykes’ highlight of the past season was snagging an unexpected pole position at the Imola circuit for the first time ever in his career. Sykes has been hard at work getting accustomed to the new Ninja ZX-10R, and the Brit has been making strides on the bike.
“We have such a good balance on the bike now for my riding style,” said Sykes. “This good direction should take us through to the start of the season.”
Kawasaki’s newly-added team member this season will be World Superbike rookie, Joan Lascorz. Last year the Spaniard rode a terrific season in the World Supersport Championship, taking third in the series behind Kenan Sofuoglu and Eugene Laverty.
Lascorz suffered injuries during a horrific crash at Silverstone, eliminating his chances of claiming the Supersport title. With only one win the 26-year-old managed consistent results prior to his crash to earn his best finish in the series and land a deal with Kawasaki in the 2011 Superbike Championship. Although still recovering from his injuries, which included four broken ribs, a shoulder injury and a bruised lung, he expects to be in full fitness for the season opener at Phillip Island.
“I am recovering well from the injuries I picked up in Silverstone and I am looking forward to getting on the Superbike as soon as I can,” said Lascorz. “I want to say thank you to Kawasaki for the help and support and I hope to repay them with good results in my rookie year in WSBK racing.”
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