MotoGP World Championship leader Marc Marquez says Honda would be reluctant to let Dani Pedrosa jump ship to Yamaha as speculation over his future continues.
Talk of Pedrosa possibly moving to Yamaha has intensified ahead of this weekend's fifth round of the series at Le Mans in France, even though Pedrosa – a Honda rider throughout his 16-year Grand Prix career – says there has been no change in his situation since Jerez.
His Repsol Honda team-mate Marquez, speaking at the official press conference on Thursday, said he had no doubt Honda would do everything in its power to keep Pedrosa, should he be courted by Yamaha as a replacement Ducati-bound Jorge Lorenzo.
“I think of course Honda will try to keep him because he is a good rider, he has experience and he's fast,” said Marquez.
“I think also he is important inside the team after all these years, so for me I already say two years ago that Dani is a good team-mate: he's fourth in the championship now and he is one of the stronger riders so for me I think the target of Honda is to keep him.”
Marquez is all but certain to remain at Honda for 2017 and confirmed that he is in positive negotiations for next season.
“In my team we've been speaking since Austin more or less with Honda and everything looks like it is going in the correct way,” he said. “I want to be concentrated on the track but we are speaking.”
Looking ahead to this weekend's race in France, Marquez revealed he has made some small gains with the RC213V since the last round at Jerez, even though he admits his feeling with the Honda is far from perfect.
“I believe we are coming better and better and I feel really good. In Monday's test after Jerez we made small steps so this was really important and anyway it looks like at the moment if I want to be in this position I must be consistent,” said the two-time premier class champion.
“I don't feel that I can attack or I don't feel the best feeling with the bike but we are working hard with the team, with Honda, to try to improve this and it looks like step by step we are getting better.
“[Le Mans] is not an easy track but it's one track that I like and it's a special one because it is stop and go and for my riding style is quite good, but anyway last year on Sunday I had some problems with the front tyre – similar problems that I had the last Sunday in Jerez and it was too soft,” he added.
“Anyway, we will see how we can manage this weekend the situation and where we can arrive.”
Marquez leads the standings by 17 points from Jorge Lorenzo and has won twice so far this season in Argentina and Austin.