Moto2 series leader Stefan Bradl is being touted for a step up to the MotoGP World Championship in 2012 after being linked with a move to Yamaha's Tech 3 squad.
The German has emerged as the Moto2 front runner aboard the Viessman Kiefer Kalex machine following the opening three rounds, Bradl winning in Qatar and Estoril to establish a 13 point advantage over Andrea Iannone.
His impressive start to the year is already sparking rumours that he could join the MotoGP ranks in 2012, potentially alongside Cal Crutchlow at Tech 3 Yamaha.
Indeed, as well as his success, Bradl's nationality is believed to be a positive factor for the competing manufacturers, with Germany proving a significant market for its road-going machines. Despite this, Germany has not had a full-time MotoGP rider since Alex Hofmann competed for Pramac d'Antin Ducati in 2007.
According to Speedweek.eu
, Yamaha head Lin Jarvis admitted his interest in Bradl, stating: 'Bradl is a very interesting rider for us, and Germany is a very important market for Yamaha'.
With Crutchlow firmed up for 2012 on a two-year contract, Bradl's arrival would put Colin Edwards's position in the team under threat, unless Yamaha is enticed by the rules to expand its satellite efforts.