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Oct 28, 2005

Vermeulen Signs Two-year Deal With Suzuki MotoGP Team

Chris Vermeulen (left) and Paul Denning (right).
Chris Vermeulen signs for Team SUZUKI MotoGP

Suzuki and Chris Vermeulen have agreed terms for the next two years, which will see the rising Australian star race the Suzuki GSV-R in the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

Vermeulen joins Team SUZUKI MotoGP from a successful season in the World Superbike Championship riding for Ten Kate Honda, the 23-year old finishing the season in second place overall. He will ride the Suzuki GSV-R for the first time in the forthcoming Valencia test on Wednesday 9th and Thursday 10th November.

Born in Brisbane in Australia, Vermeulen began racing dirt track bikes from the age of 12, before moving onto 250 and 600cc machines in the Australian Championship. In 2000 his talent was noticed by former Suzuki World Champion Barry Sheene, and the late Sheene persuaded Vermeulen to travel to Britain to race. A year in the British Supersport and Superstock championships followed and Vermeulen scored his first Supersport win at Donington Park, accompanied by five wins in the Superstock championship.

For the 2001 season Vermeulen moved onto the world stage with a ride in World Supersport and in 2003 raced to the title in only his third season in this very competitive championship. Vermeulen then made the progression into Superbikes in 2004, developing his machine into a serious contender and notching up four victories.

Vermeulen has already shown, at a young age, his talent to develop a racing motorcycle and his hunger for victory. It is these attributes, coupled with his natural racing talent, which have persuaded Suzuki to offer him the position recently vacated by ex World Champion Kenny Roberts Jr as team-mate to John Hopkins.

Chris Vermeulen:

"I'm so excited about the prospects for next year. It's obviously going to be a difficult season to begin with - there are a lot of new tracks to learn, a new bike and a new team, but I know I am up for the challenge.

"I've known Paul Denning since I came to England in the year 2000 and I'm really looking forward to working with him as well as the whole team. I'll try to take that step up to fill the shoes of Suzuki World Champions like Barry Sheene - Barry was the guy that gave me my first chance - Kevin Schwantz and Kenny Junior. These are all guys that I really respect

"I'm also looking forward to working with Bridgestone as well as Suzuki. It's another new tyre manufacturer for me. I've never ridden on them before, but I've heard and seen a lot of good things and hopefully we can do well together.

"I want to thank Suzuki for giving me this chance in MotoGP and for trusting in my ability. Suzuki has been very honest about the current position, and about its future plans. I am very happy to be part of those plans and I'll be doing everything I can to make sure Suzuki's faith in me is repaid."

Paul Denning Team Manager:

"Suzuki is delighted to have secured the services of Chris. He is one of the rising stars of motorcycle racing and will undoubtedly inject some new life into Team SUZUKI MotoGP. He has already shown his hunger for success and his ability to learn new situations very quickly.

"He is joining the team after a very successful year in World Superbikes where he pushed the eventual World Champion - Suzuki's Troy Corser - all the way. Neither Chris nor Suzuki is under any illusions at the size of our MotoGP task ahead, but we are all confident that Chris is the right choice for the future. We are very grateful to the Ten Kate team for releasing Chris early from his contract, this will enable him to get to know his new crew and ride the GSV-R at Valencia.

"It has been helpful that Chris had the opportunity to ride in MotoGP at the end of this season, but Suzuki's enthusiasm to sign him was established well before this chance came up. His mature performances in these races have only served to justify that enthusiasm!

"On a personal basis, I first met Chris as a fresh-faced 17-year old when he came over to England with Barry Sheene. He quickly established himself as a tough competitor on the track, but a very likeable young man off it. I have watched his career progress and know that now is the right time for him to make the switch to MotoGP and show the true talent and potential that he possesses.

"Suzuki's rider line-up of John and Chris is young, aggressive, exciting and shows faith in the future. We all have a lot of work to do now let's get to it!"