Ten Kate Honda's World Superbike star Chris Vermeulen is 'most likely' to replace Troy Bayliss at the final three rounds of this year's MotoGP World Championship, should Bayliss be unfit to return.
Bayliss broke his wrist in a motocross training accident prior to the Japanese Grand Prix - where he was replaced by Tohru Ukawa - and will have his seat taken by Shane Byrne at the forthcoming Malaysian and Qatar GPs.
After Qatar there is a one week break before the Australian Grand Prix but, should Bayliss be unfit to return at his home event, countryman Vermeulen - instead of Byrne - is expected to be handed Troy's machine for the final three races of the season.
"If Troy Bayliss is unfit, Chris is most likely to replace him for the Phillip Island, Istanbul and Valencia rounds," Ronald ten Kate told Crash.net
. "In Imola (October 2) we will know more - Carlo Fiorani from Honda Europe will be there to give us some answers."
Vermeulen is seen by HRC as a future MotoGP rider, although just when Honda want the WSBK race winner to make the move appears unclear.
The Australian, who has previously been forced to miss several chances to test an RCV due to injury, looks to have only a slim chance of a 2006 GP seat - but that could well change if he can impress in the final three rounds of this season.
Chris is unable to race the Camel Honda before Phillip Island due to his World Superbike commitments - the #77 is a safe second in the points, but still has a small chance of stopping Troy Corser claiming the title.
The Magny-Cours WSBK season finale takes place on October 9, one week before the Australian Grand Prix.