If you do try to recover the registration document (V5C), then DVLA may:
- Issue it to you - I had a basket case with a very old logbook. I sent it in and got a new V5C back (@ 2 years ago) - Result !!
- Ask for pictures - I had a very incomplete bike with a very old logbook. They wanted pictures and spoke to me on the phone (@6 months ago) and did provide the V5C after about 8 weeks.
- Insist on a physical inspection - Out of my last three that were going back on the road, they came out to look at two of them.
I obv had the bikes, in all cases, but my point is that they've dealt with the situation inconsistantly. I think I had to provide proof of address, in the second case (the one 6 months back), which as your bike isn't in the UK ( I am assuming yr friend lives near to you ??) will be tough for him
I suspect others have similar experiences.
Just saying that worst case, they may want to see it and which depending on what you are trying to do i.e. obtain a V5C, may not improve the situation. I'd be surprised if DVLA would issue a V5C to a keeper outside of the UK - but I am sure someone else knows more than me.