Andrea Iannone was insistent that the current speculation surrounding his future is not a distraction as he ponders a “very good opportunity for the future” that will be decided in "two or three" races.
As Ducati announced the signing of Jorge Lorenzo for 2017/18 before the first European round of the year, and Iannone admitted “maybe it is possible for me to stay in Ducati, maybe not” as he scraps with team-mate Andrea Dovizioso for the last seat in the factory team.
In Argentina, Carlo Pernat, Iannone's manager, made it know to sections of the Italian media that Suzuki was interested in his clients services and although the 26-year remained enigmatic on exact details, he was keen to make it known that he has options on the table.
“I'm not distracted about the contract,” said the Italian. “I think for some riders this is a negative point because they use a different strategy from the beginning, from the first race. For me I don't think about this and for sure I don't want to think about it now, [nor] the next race.
“When I have a good situation for me I decide. At the moment I have a very good opportunity for the future but I'm waiting two or three race and after these races I will decide.
“I'm really happy for Jorge and for Ducati. If Jorge want to come here I'm very happy for him. Ducati want to win and Jorge is a very fast, competitive rider. In any case everything is the same.
“If Jorge comes or not my future, maybe it is possible for me to stay in Ducati, maybe no. It does not change my position at the moment. I want to focus on 2016 and continue the championship. I have so many races in front. This is my objective and I want to focus with my team on this.”
Ducati's official line is that the second seat in its 2017 factory team won't be announced before the Grand Prix of Catalunya in Barcelona in June.
Asked whether he felt Ducati was the right move for Lorenzo, Iannone added, “Compared with me Jorge has a very, very similar style; high speed in the corners and braking strong and he wants a lot of grip on the rear. He wants the bike to turn very easy and for sure I have these characteristics.
“I hope Jorge likes the bike a lot when he tries the bike in the first test, that the first impression is very good for him. For me the priority is to continue and focus 100 percent.”
Iannone was buoyed by a first podium finish of 2016 in Texas and feels that result can be a stepping stone to begin a strong run as the European season commences.
“I'm really happy about my last race. It's the best this season. It's very difficult the first two Sundays. In the first race I touch the white line, it was a very bad moment for us. In the second I made a mistake and went down with my team-mate.
“This is the past and we want to continue in a good way, like the last race in Austin. Most of the weekend we were fast, and stayed toward the top in practice. In the race I had a good pace. We want to continue in this way.
“For me it's very important to finish the race and for sure this year the package is completely different compared to last year. It's important we don't follow the instinct and we think a little bit more, especially in the race. It's always different, especially in the front. To manage this situation isn't easy. But now I understand it more after the first race, I learnt a lot and I want to continue in my way.”