Australian rider Chris Vermeulen is set to be announced as a Suzuki rider alongside John Hopkins as a replacement for Kenny Roberts Jr.

Vermeulen, who finished second in the Corona Extra Superbike World Championship riding for Ten Kate Honda, moved to MotoGP for the Philip Island and Turkish rounds of the championship as a replacement for the injured Troy Bayliss and is thought to have been in negotiations with Suzuki prior to the Assen round of the World Superbikes in September.

The move is considered as a certainty by Vermeulen's local Queensland press in Australia with the Gold Coast Sunday Mail saying the deal is all but done and paddock insiders admitting as much.

The timing of the announcement would make sense with Roberts' departure from the Suzuki camp where he has ridden since 1999 having been announced this weekend and Vermeulen out in his final MotoGP ride for 2005 with Honda as Bayliss is set to make a return for the season end at Valencia in November.

Vermeulen has impressed in Turkey on the Camel Honda, qualifying in eleventh place. Honda wanted the Australian star to remain in the World Superbikes for a season then head to MotoGP full time in 2007, but the Aussie's aim seems to be on the main game.



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