Chris Vermeulen says he hopes he can at least help Forward Racing with its development programme on his return to MotoGP in this weekend's French Grand Prix.
The Australian is substituting for Colin Edwards at the leading CRT squad while the latter recovers from the broken collarbone he sustained in a qualifying crash at Estoril two weeks ago. Vermeulen has not raced in MotoGP since losing his Suzuki seat at the end of the 2009 season, and his subsequent World Superbike career was disrupted by a knee injury.
Although he was slowest in both Friday practice sessions at Le Mans, where he won for Suzuki in 2007, Vermeulen said he was enjoying being back on a MotoGP bike and hoping to provide the team with some valuable information.
"They're pure race bikes. I was racing Superbikes for a couple of years in between, and they're fun but these are full-on race bikes," he said. "So I enjoyed it from that point of view, but on the other side, there's a hell of a lot of work to do.
"This bike is quite undeveloped at the moment and they need information. It's not going to be an easy weekend, but hopefully I'm going to help them in the right direction."
Vermeulen said he was not surprised that he had been off the pace on his first day back.
"They're not easy, and I haven't ridden a race bike in about seven or eight months," he said. "These brakes, the tires, the type of bike they are, they're not easy on the body, but it was fun.
"It took me a few laps to get up to speed, which I expected, but they're a great bunch of guys and it's a really good motorbike. It's definitely a race bike underneath me and I'm enjoying it so far."