Aprilia has now confirmed that Garry McCoy will make a surprise MotoGP return, by replacing the injured Shane Byrne in the three remaining rounds that follow this weekend's inaugural Qatar Grand Prix.

This morning, Toby Moody broke the news - via Crash.net - that the 'Slide King' would ride an RS Cube at both the upcoming Malaysian and Australian GPs - which take place on October 10 and 17 respectively - and McCoy is now expected to race in the Valencia season finale as well.

"Garry contacted us after Japan and from that moment we were seriously considering him for a ride on the RS Cube," explained Aprilia racing chief Jan Witteveen.

"He brings with him great quality, but he is also the only rider who has no contract problems with the World Superbike championship finishing on Sunday," added Witteveen. "We are looking forward to working him because we know he is a rider of great talent."

Fan favourite McCoy won three 500 GPs during a premier-class career that lasted from 1998-2003 but, after a disappointing season with Kawasaki, the Australian accepted an offer to ride for the NCR Ducati team in the 2004 World Superbike championship.

McCoy currently sits sixth in the standings, with one race win - at Phillip Island, home of the Australian GP - to his credit.

With the 2004 WSBK season finishing this weekend at Magny-Cours, McCoy will then join Aprilia regular Jeremy McWilliams at Sepang the following weekend.