CHRIS Vermeulen says he is being realistic about his return to the World Superbike circuit this weekend.
The Yandina rider will race at England's Donnington Park, on Sunday night (Australian time), his first hitout since undergoing a knee reconstruction in July last year.
He originally injured his knee in last year's opening round of the series at Phillip Island and suffered numerous flare-ups during the 2010 season.
The injury also caused him to miss the 2011 Phillip Island season opener last month.
The Kawasaki rider says he has modest expectations for the race as he continues to gain movement in his troublesome right knee.
“It would be stupid of me to expect to come back after such a long layoff and go quick straight away, but I do feel that I can run at the pace I need to,” he said.
Vermeulen has spent months rehabilitating his knee at home on the Sunshine Coast since going under the knife of renowned sports surgeon Dr Richard Pruna in Spain.
Before the Phillip Island round, Vermeulen said he was confident of getting on the bike, but he had to abandon that plan just days out from the race.
He expects to be tested with a heavy workload this weekend.
“What I don't know is if I'll be able to maintain the pace all weekend. Quick on race day? Easy. Quick all weekend? Not sure yet,” he said.
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