Despite the continuing uncertainty over perhaps half the grid in MotoGP, as the world awaits the fallout from Jorge Lorenzo's decision on his future, some seats are starting to fill up. And as those seats fill up, some riders are finding themselves still running in a circle while the music continues to play.
Alvaro Bautista's completely unsurprising announcement that he would be joining Suzuki, coupled with the tacit acknowledgements of Loris Capirossi that he is likely to stay with the Rizla Suzuki team for another season leaves Capirex' current team mate, Chris Vermeulen, one of the men still left standing. It has long been rumored that the Australian was out of the running for a seat with Suzuki next season; both the scarcity with which the team mentioned Vermeulen's name when it came to possible riders, and the decreasing tact with which Vermeulen has discussed the Suzuki's lack of performance have led many observers to conclude that that the Australian will not be returning to Suzuki for year.
Confirmation of what most people have suspected came today, in the shape of a report over on Crash.net that Vermeulen will be leaving Suzuki at the end of the season. Vermeulen's manager, Phil Baker, told Crash.net of Vermeulen's dissatisfaction with the Suzuki, and that he "felt a change was needed as he wants to be running at the front for victories." Vermeulen had earlier told Autosport.com that he found the lack of progress in developing the bike frustrating, and it is an open secret that Vermeulen has been offering his services around the paddock, with the Tech 3 Yamaha the Australian's main target, given the Yamaha's recent competitiveness.
But with seats limited, a large influx of young talent - there could potentially be as many as 6 new entrants in the class next season - and cost-cutting high on the agenda, there is no guarantee that Vermeulen will be able to stay in MotoGP. The Australian has also been linked to a number of World Superbike projects, and given his stated aim of getting a competitive ride and becoming a world champion, that is his most likely destination in 2010.