Ducati Corse sporting director Paulo Ciabatti has confirmed that the factory is interested in entering the Moto3 World Championship.
However the arrival of triple MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo means Ducati's immediate efforts will remain fully focused on the premier-class.
"Moto3 is something interesting. It is not a plan, but it is something we are thinking about," Ciabatti said. "It is not going to happen next year, because decisions have not been made yet. But eventually, if everything goes right with our MotoGP project, we might consider a Moto3 bike."
The main attraction of a Moto3 project would be to form early relationships with rising stars, potentially guiding them all the way to MotoGP.
Premier-class rivals Honda and KTM are already involved in Moto3, but Ciabatti pointed out Ducati - which supports more satellite teams than any other manufacturer - has more MotoGP places to offer a young rider.
"Most of the riders moving up to MotoGP come from Moto2 and obviously many of them have also been successful in Moto3," Ciabatti said. "But on Ducati's side, we have several satellite teams so we already have the possibility to put some promising young riders in MotoGP without the pressure of being in a factory team."
Moto3 currently features 250cc four-stroke machines from Honda, KTM and Mahindra/Peugeot. Honda also supplies the (control) engines in Moto2, where KTM is to enter a factory team in 2017.
Ducati's three satellite MotoGP teams could reduce in the future should Suzuki, KTM and Aprilia supply customer machinery. That was planned under the latest commercial agreement, which 'obliges' each manufacturer to support one factory and one satellite team.
By Peter McLaren