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Chris Vermeulen profile

By Dan Moakes
December 22 2005

Chris Vermeulen
nationality • Australian
born • 19 June 1982
world superbike début • 2004
grand prix début • 2005

Originally noticed by Barry Sheene, and tipped for greatness by the Englishman, Chris Vermeulen has certainly proved himself worthy of the great man’s support. Already with a varied and successful home career behind him, Vermeulen made a mark during his first season in Europe, and was a world championship rider by the age of eighteen. Three years later he had taken the Supersport crown, and was ready to move up to Superbikes, where he made a strong impression with a race-kitted version of the new 1000cc Honda FireBlade in 2004. The runner-up in his second season, he was given his first MotoGP outings towards the end of the year, and joins Suzuki full-time in the class for 2006

 Chris Vermeulen - photo by Raceline Photography
© Raceline Photography

1993
Started a five year career in junior dirt track racing, with 60cc, 80cc, 100cc, 125cc and 80cc sidecar machines - 2nd in three national titles, won ten state titles in Queensland and New South Wales

1997
Junior road racing début at the end of the year, with an 80cc Moriwaki - won all five Australian meetings before moving up in mid-1998

1998
Made senior début in Australian Road Racing Championships, for Yamaha Australia, in the last three rounds - two wins and a third in the 250cc GP class; also raced in the Supersport 600 class, with a best of seventh

1999
8th in Australian Superbike championship, with a private Yamaha YZF-R1 - 4th three times, all results in top ten, Privateer Champion; 3rd in Australian Stockbike championship

2000
6th in British Supersport championship, with Sanyo First National Honda - 2nd at Thruxton and Donington; 4th in British Superstock championship, with Sanyo First National Honda - three wins
Helped into the Sanyo team by Barry Sheene, Chris also won the first race of the European Superstock championship, as a wildcard on the number 48 Honda CBR900RR at Donington Park. He was later called up as a replacement rider for the Castrol Honda team in World Supersport, racing three times with a best of sixth at Assen

2001 Castrol Honda, number 21 Honda
17th as a full-time rider in the World Supersport championship, with Castrol’s CBR600 - 5th at Misano, 8th at Lausitzring, three mechanical non-finishes; won at Donington as a British Supersport wildcard, with the number 27 bike for Castrol Honda Britain

2002 Van Zon Honda T.K.R., number 17 Honda
7th in World Supersport championship, with the Van Zon Honda team - 2nd at Monza, 3rd and fastest lap at Assen, two poles, 90 points from nine finishes

2003 Ten Kate Honda, number 7 Honda
Moving from the satellite Van Zon to the full-on Ten Kate team, Chris raced the CBR600RR to take the World Supersport title, with four wins and four second places. He was the youngest ever champion in the class at 21, scoring 201 points to beat his nearest rival by 64. He also added three more poles and two fastest laps to his tally

Chris Vermeulen - photo by Raceline Photography
Chris Vermeulen in action during 2004 © Raceline Photography

2004 Ten Kate Honda, number 17 Honda
Vermeulen and his team moved up to World Superbikes together, where they would run the new CBR 1000RR FireBlade. There was no HRC support forthcoming, because of the one-make tyre rules, so the bike had to be developed from road-going specification. Nevertheless, Chris put it on the front row eight times in eleven attempts, and had scored two second places at home in Australia, in the second round of the series. He was a winner by mid-season, taking one each at Silverstone and Assen, and the double in his first ever visit to Laguna Seca. From leading by a point with three races to go, bad luck at the last two meetings pushed him back to fourth overall, with 282 points - the only man to get in among the dominant Ducatis. He also recorded three fastest laps

Chris Vermeulen - photo by Raceline Photography
Chris Vermeulen in action during 2005 © Raceline Photography

2005 Winston Ten Kate Honda, number 77 Honda
The Japanese manufacturers returned in force with their 1000cc machines, and the Suzuki was particularly quick from the outset. In a very strong field, Chris and the Honda were on the front row from round three, and later emerged as the quickest combination, with three poles out of the last four. A consistent scorer, he was second twice in Spain, then won the second race at Monza, after mechanical failure in the first. As the season progressed, Vermeulen became the closest challenger to points leader Troy Corser, and won five of the last seven races - he had been leading the final one until another machine failure. With four fastest laps, this put him in the runner-up position for the season, with 379 points on the board
He also raced the number 17 bike for Camel Honda in the MotoGP world championship, as one of the substitutes for injured Troy Bayliss. Vermeulen’s outings were in Australia and Turkey, and he was a creditable eleventh on the grid in the second of these, finishing in the same position both times. He joins Suzuki full-time next year

© Getty Images
© Getty Images


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