A small but crucial clue to the 2011 destination of seven time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi, and 2007 world champion Casey Stoner, looks to have been revealed.
According to an 'undercover whisper' reported by GPweek.com
, mechanics on Stoner's side of the Ducati Marlboro garage “have been warned that they may have to seek new employment for next season.”
That would imply that not only is Stoner leaving the team - almost certainly for Honda - but also that Rossi and his group of mechanics, led by crew chief Jerry Burgess, are being lined up to take his place.
Rossi took Burgess, who has also won world titles with Mick Doohan and Wayne Gardner, and his mechanics with him from Honda to Yamaha at the end of 2003.
Indeed, the #46 has never raced in the premier-class without Burgess and his crew, and they are considered an essential part of any 2011 Rossi deal.
Rossi aside, it is rare for riders to bring mechanics with them to a new team and they are usually expected to fit-in to the existing structure.
The Italian superstar, currently sidelined with a broken leg, hopes to be back in action for Fiat Yamaha in August.
Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo now leads the championship by 37 points and, should Rossi move, Lorenzi is sure to remain an M1 rider for a fourth season in 2011.
Ducati, which has not taken a podium finish so far this season, would only state that they are talking to both Rossi and Lorenzo, with an announcement expected by the end of July.