Vermeulen to Sub for Edwards at Le Mans

May 9, 2012
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

Chris Vermeulen will mark his return to MotoGP at Le Mans. The Australian will pilot the Forward Racing CRT entry, substituting for injured rider Colin Edwards. The Texan was injured during qualifying at Estoril, having broken his collarbone after a collision with fellow CRT rider Randy de Puniet.

Chris Vermeulen has good MotoGP memories at Le Mans, the site of his Grand Prix win with Rizla Suzuki in 2007. The Australian returns to MotoGP as replacement for the injured Colin Edwards on the Forward Racing BMW-Suter CRT.

Vermeulen brings five years of MotoGP experience to the Forward CRT controls as a replacement rider. The Aussie also holds an impressive record at the French circuit, having taking his only MotoGP victory there in 2007 with Rizla Suzuki (the first four-stroke MotoGP win for Suzuki).

“First of all I would like to wish Colin a speedy recovery,” said Vermeulen in a team press statement. “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.”

Vermeulen’s fourth season with Rizla (2009) ended his GP tenure. A disappointing two-year stint in World Superbike with Kawasaki followed, and was marred by perpetual injury. Tabbed as a prime CRT candidate, the popular rider was unable to secure a full-time seat for the 2012 season.

As for Edwards, the 38-year-old is recuperating from surgery to repair fractures in his left clavicle. Dr. Javier Mir performed the procedure at Barcelona’s Instituto Universitario Dexeus, inserting a titanium plate and 10 screws to stabilize the bone which was broken into five pieces.

Edwards had a similar surgery, also with Dr. Mir, last season after breaking his collarbone during practice at Catalunya. That injury broke Edwards’ Ironman streak of 141 consecutive GP starts. This time around Catalunya will be Edwards’ expected return to action, the veteran rider slated to race Round 5 on June 3.

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