Chris Vermeulen could become the first MotoGP race winner to land a full-time Claiming Rules Team ride if his plans to return to the premier class in 2013 are successful.
Vermeulen, 30, is targeting the only remaining ride on the MotoGP grid, a second production-based Suter-BMW fielded by Ioda Racing. Danilo Petrucci will ride the team's other bike. The second bike became available when Robbie Rolfo's funding apparently disappeared.
This would be Vermeulen's first full-time ride since the end of 2011, the end of two injury-plagued seasons with Kawasaki in World Superbike. Vermeulen replaced the injured Colin Edwards on a Forward Racing Suter-BMW CRT bike this season at Le Mans, finishing 17th. That track was the site of Vermeulen's sole MotoGP victory, a dominant ride in the rain in 2007 aboard a factory Suzuki.
There could be one roadblock to the deal for Vermeulen--his price tag. Suter marketing director Andreas Leuthe told British media that Vermeulen's salary demands could be too high for a CRT team, but Vermeulen countered: "I won't ask for a high wage. I want to race again and get another chance."
On the heels of Casey Stoner's retirement, two Australians still would be on the MotoGP grid in 2013 if Vermeulen lands the Ioda ride. Bryan Staring recently signed to ride a CRT for Gresini.