Chris Vermeulen still has a need for Speed
HIS racing talents may be lost to the world stage, but in retirement Mooloolaba's Chris Vermeulen's abilities aren't going to waste.
The 31-year-old former MotoGP rider has been picked up by Fox Sports' Speed channel to serve as its expert commentator for grand prix bike racing broadcasts, a role seemingly made for the affable Sunshine Coast racing personality.
It's an exciting role for the new father who is keeping himself busy in racing retirement, and something he'd been earmarked for during his MotoGP career.
"I was approached by Speed for the role, and I remember they'd said previously that when I retired they'd be interested in working with me," Vermeulen said.
Vermeulen travels to the channel's Sydney studios to serve as expert commentator roughly every fortnight, and reports on the MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 classes.
"It's a long day broadcasting from 5.30pm until 11.30pm for the European races, and it's exciting for Australians with Townsville's Jack Miller leading the Moto3 World Championship and having Anthony West in Moto2," he said.
"And of course, MotoGP just sells itself."
The flagship grand prix championship is currently being dominated by last year's MotoGP rookie world champion Spanish rider, Marc Marquez.
The 21-year-old prodigy has moved the sport on to an even higher plain; something Vermeulen's former rival Valentino Rossi did in the early 2000s, Vermeulen said.
"The team and bike Marquez is on (Repsol Honda) are the best in the championship, but he's wiping the floor with his team mate (Dani Pedrosa)," he said.
"His riding technique with his elbow down is evolving the sport, and positively for us he's got some character too, some real charisma. He could be huge like Rossi."
Vermeulen's expertise as a recent MotoGP rider is invaluable for the commentary team, which is hosted by Jessica Yates and Australian former GP rider Kevin Magee.
"It's new for me being in front of the cameras, but the easiest thing is Jessica knows how to host a show really well, and Kevin and I know all about the experiences of riding GP bikes," he said.
Next race for new expert commentator is Italy's MotoGP Mugello round on June 1 - which will be Valentino Rossi's 300th grand prix - something that will be marked accordingly by Speed and his former on-track rival.