NGM Forward racing has announced it is to replace the injured Colin Edwards with former MotoGP rider Chris Vermeulen for the next race at Le Mans.
The sidelined Texan had been using his @texastornado5 Twitter account to debate with the public who should be his substitute for the next round in France with Vermeulen being a name the number 5 brought up as a preferred replacement.
Vermeulen is considered to be a wet weather specialist given his previous rain results, especially his only MotoGP win, which came in 2007 at a very wet Le Mans for Suzuki,making him a fairly logical choice for the Forward team – especially as he is not currently contracted to any team and has GP experience.
The Australian rider, who was at one time mentored by motorcycle legend Barry Sheene, has suffered serious injury since moving to World Superbikes, sidelining his career progress. Vermeulen is excited to be given an opportunity to return to top flight motorcycle racing:
“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,” said Chris Vermeulen. “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.”
How he will fare given his lack of recent racing remains to be seen, but his results in the wet, especially at Le Mans, which is so often a rainy race, goes a long way to explain why the team sought him out. His previous MotoGP experience should mean he still knows his way around the circuit and hopefully he will get to grips with the bike quickly too. No doubt having a different rider will give some good feedback on CRT problems for the team, and being out of contract because of his injuries makes him much easier to hire than the BMW Superbike riders, as Forward use BMW that would have raised more issues had they been miles ahead or behind Edwards current times.