Valentino Rossi believes the continued presence of MotoGP's 'rookie rule' won't make much difference to Marc Marquez in 2013.
Spanish star Marquez, a former 125cc champion and last year's Moto2 runner-up, is all but guaranteed to move up to the premier-class next season.
Strong Repsol links make the official Honda team the obvious destination - especially given the space created by Casey Stoner's decision to retire - however MotoGP's ban on rookie riders joining a factory team currently excludes such a move.
With Dorna and IRTA reluctant to drop the rule, introduced in 2010, Marquez is likely to spend his first MotoGP season at a satellite Honda team.
“For Marc next year it won't change a lot anyway, because if the [rookie] rule stops he can start from the full factory team,” said Rossi. “But if the rule remains for sure Honda will give to him a full factory bike in his own team anyway, a bit like me in 2000. So I think it's not a big difference for Marc either way.”
Countryman and present Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa said he understands the reasons behind the rule and also doesn't think it will make much difference to Marquez's chances.
“As a rider maybe you wish to go straight to the factory team, but I also understand that the satellite teams want to have some chance to have a good rider and get some good results to keep their sponsor happy,” he said.
“I think obviously if anyway it is a factory bike it doesn't change much. If Marquez is on satellite team he can bring his own team with him from Moto2 and if you are a talented guy it doesn't matter much.”
Should Marquez be prevented from joining Repsol Honda, one possibility is that HRC could try and tempt current title leader Jorge Lorenzo from Yamaha to replace reigning champion Stoner.
“Anything is possible for next year, especially after the news of the retirement of Stoner,” said Ducati rider Rossi.
“Maybe it is too early to understand and I think that now Jorge and Dani are especially focused on this race and this championship.
“But together is good for them I think,” smiled Rossi.
All of the top MotoGP riders are out of contract at the end of this season and Rossi has also been linked with a possible return to Honda or Yamaha.