Ducati is rumoured to have completed its first rider signing for the 2013 MotoGP season, in the form of a contract extension for Nicky Hayden.
Hayden, the 2006 world champion with Honda, has been a Factory Ducati rider since 2009.
Although he hasn't won a race since his championship season, Hayden scored just seven points less than team-mate and seven time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi last year.
The American's place had looked under threat from Ducati's interest in Cal Crutchlow, but GPOne.com
says that Hayden has got the nod and could be officially announced as a 2013 rider during his home US GP at Laguna Seca this weekend.
The sudden movement on a Hayden deal will be seen by some as a reaction to the possibility that Rossi will leave the team. On the other hand, Hayden is likely to be Rossi's favoured team-mate...