Chris Vermeulen To Replace Edwards At Le Mans

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.

Chris Vermeulen

“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.”


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Really looking forward to seeing CV back on the grid. He always seemed like a genuinely, persistently optimistic rider. We need more of those.

Really, for a second I thought it said 'looking forward to seeing CV on the back of the grid.'
I hope he does a good job and is able to surprise us, come rain or shine.

I wouldn't think Chris would be interested. i don't any way this can make him look good. I really would have thought that they could have gotten some up and comer from BSB, AMA, Australia or Italy, that would not be damaged if they do not score too well. i do not know how licensing requirements may have weighed on this.

The team is working on a new bike, new format and there's a lot of development on the line. I would imagine CV's experience with the tires, the grid and the GP pace was important to them. Best to gather as much data as you can than have some youngster that's more likely to bin it whilst trying to prove himself at the big show.

Vermeulen! It will be great to see him back on the GP grid. He always seemed to have a lot of heart and courage.

Great to see him get an opportunity. He appears to be a real genuine guy and I hope it goes well for him. Tall ask but given his experience he should do well.

CV IS a genuinely nice guy and it would be great to see him full time back on a bike. Absolutely tragic someone of his talent is just sitting on the sidelines. His injury definitely set his career back and some good fortune now would be much deserved. Hope he puts in a good showing in Le Man.

If it weren't for another talented Aussie in 2007, he'd have more than one GP win too!

I think CV is a great choice. Who better to gather data from than a guy who's won at the circuit, and is just sitting around without a ride? Hope he is able to ride the bike in the wet, "drying wet" and dry. That's a perfect way to get all the necessary data for possible set-ups in varying conditions. He's also worked with some of the crew, so it would be a bit of homecoming of sorts. He'll be able to communicate well with the team and know how to get results. That's a well-thought choice. They didn't just grab some random palooka and stick him on the bike and say "here, go round the track 25 times".

I know a lot of people aren't going to agree with me here, but, Chris Vermeulen???? REALLY???

I'm not doubting the guys talent, AT ALL. But, he's not ridden a race bike in anger in over 10 months (lets call it a year)..Given the BMW ties, why's this ride not being given to a WSBK rider? I know everyones going to say tyres. But, surely someone that's "race bike fit" is going to be of more help than someone who's not. And I've no doubt Chris is ultra fit. But, race bike fit and fit, are 2 different things.

I just can't see it. Sorry.

I do wish him all the very best, and would love to see him back in the paddock. Either Moto GP or WSBK (cough, replacement for Hopper at Donny, cough).

I wonder if he wasn't offered both opportunities and chose the Moto GP one. He'd be another obvious choice for Cresent given his history on a Rizla Suzuki (Moto GP). I don't expect he'll be immediately fast on NGM's "flying pile of parts" (FPP vs. CRT?), but the exposure to Moto GP again will be good for CV, and the expectations and pressure are pobably pretty low compared to what Cresent might want.