If past grand prix history is anything to go by, the chances of Dani Pedrosa not being retained by Repsol Honda for 2013 are extremely slim.
As far as we can see, since HRC was officially founded in 1982, Honda's factory 500cc/MotoGP team has always sought continuity and stability by retaining at least one factory rider from the previous season.
The 1980s saw Freddie Spencer overlap with Wayne Gardner, then Gardner overlap with Mick Doohan, who remained with HRC until his career-ending 1999 accident.
Repsol title sponsorship began in 1995, since when the factory line-up has been as shown below (Repsol NSR v-twin riders and replacement riders not listed).
HRC marketing director Livio Suppo confirmed the factory's intention to retain Pedrosa for 2013, especially following Jorge Lorenzo's contract extension with Yamaha.
“Pedrosa has been with us for many years, and he has won a lot. Our priority is to extend his contract,” GPone.com quotes Suppo as saying.
Suppo also repeated that Valentino Rossi's Honda options would be limited to a satellite team.
Repsol Honda's reigning world champion Casey Stoner is to retire at the end of this season.
Repsol Honda line-up 1996-2012:
2012: Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner
2011: Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner, Andrea Dovizioso
2010: Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso
2009: Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso
2008: Dani Pedrosa, Nicky Hayden
2007: Dani Pedrosa, Nicky Hayden
2006: Dani Pedrosa, Nicky Hayden
2005: Max Biaggi, Nicky Hayden
2004: Alex Barros, Nicky Hayden
2003: Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden
2002: Valentino Rossi, Tohru Ukawa
2001: Alex Criville, Tohru Ukawa
2000: Alex Criville, Tadayuki Okada, Sete Gibernau
1999: Alex Criville, Mick Doohan, Tadayuki Okada
1998: Alex Criville, Mick Doohan, Tadayuki Okada
1997: Alex Criville, Mick Doohan, Tadayuki Okada
1996: Alex Criville, Mick Doohan
1995: Alex Criville, Mick Doohan, Shinichi Itoh