Valentino Rossi will open discussions about extending his Ducati MotoGP contract 'next week'.
Barring a shock return to Yamaha, alongside Jorge Lorenzo, Rossi's factory team options are now officially limited to remaining at Ducati, following Thursday's announcement that Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez will form Repsol Honda's 2013 line-up.
Speaking on the eve of his and Ducati's home Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, Rossi - who met Ducati's new owner's Audi during last weekend's German GP - said:
“Unfortunately now our situation is difficult because we have to recover the gap and fix some problem on the bike.
“When I spoke with Audi I was happy, because they have a lot of enthusiasm to improve the bike and to put effort to improve our performance.
“It is good and we will speak about the future in the next week.”
“No discussions have been made yet,” Rossi confirmed. “When we spoke it was just ten minutes, just to understand the feeling.”
Seven time MotoGP champion Rossi holds the all-time record for premier-class wins, but his most recent victory was during his final Yamaha season in 2010.
The Doctor has claimed just two podiums since switching to Ducati, but insists he remains determined to make the all-Italian partnership work.
Rossi confirmed that new engine and chassis upgrades will be tested at Mugello on Monday
“The test will be important because we have some new stuff,” he said. “I think something about the engine, a better delivery, and some small difference in the chassis to try to understand if the way that we follow is right.”