Andrea Iannone's hopes of stepping up to the official Ducati MotoGP team looked to take a significant blow with both Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso remaining for 2015.
But they are from over, with GPOne.com
reporting that the factory team may now expand to three machines to accommodate the young Italian.
The Pramac rider, eighth in the world championship with a career best fifth just before the summer break at Sachsenring, had made clear he was seeking a 2015 seat at the factory squad.
“My priority is to stay with Ducati, but I want the Ducati Marlboro factory bike. This is my priority,” Iannone had said, while also confirming interest from Suzuki.
Prior to Saturday's dual announcements - that Dovizioso has agreed a new two-year Ducati deal and then the more low-key confirmation that Crutchlow will take up his 2015 option - Iannone had looked likely to get his factory wish.
It is thought that Iannone has an agreement with Ducati for next year, if he is at the factory team. Assuming that is the case, Ducati must now find a way to incorporate Iannone into its factory project.
Speaking at this weekend's World Ducati Week event at Misano, Iannone made clear his intention is to stay: "Receiving such a warm welcome from the crowds makes me proud to be a Ducati rider and that's why I'd just love to continue racing with them all the way to the end of my career."
"Nothing is impossible," Ducati MotoGP project director Paolo Ciabatti said of a three-bike factory team. "We are talking about what is the best solution. This year Andrea is racing an official motorcycle at Pramac, we would like to continue in the same way and increase the technical support from Ducati."
As Ciabatti indicated, although Iannone - an eight-time Moto2 race winner, currently in his second MotoGP season - rides for Pramac he is contracted to Ducati and has the latest specification Desmosedici. Team-mate Yonny Hernandez uses last year's GP13.
A 2015 solution for Iannone would therefore be to join the factory Ducati team as a third rider (possibly while still carrying Pramac colours) a format previously created by Repsol Honda following the signing of Casey Stoner in 2011.
Each MotoGP manufacturer is limited to a maximum of four factory-class machines, divided between official and satellite teams.
Whether the third entry would be allowed under the Ducati Team name or remain as Pramac is unclear.
In terms of the Teams' World Championship points, where usually both riders (in a two rider team) are eligible to score, in the case of Repsol in 2011 only points scored by the best and worst placed rider in each race counted.