Ducati's plans to enter the Moto3 World Championship have been postponed by the arrival of star-signing Jorge Lorenzo at its MotoGP team, with all resources focussed on the triple premier-class champion.
But Moto3 remains an attractive proposition.
During January's Ducati MotoGP team launch, CEO Claudio Domenicali confirmed an interest in the 250cc grand prix class, but declared it is now 'out of our plan'.
"Moto3 is a very interesting category, but now it is out of our plan," Domenicali said. "The discussion had been inside the racing department and not with the whole company. So not in the plan of the company so far.
"I cannot deny it would be very interesting on the sport side because you can grow young riders and the team could follow a rider and take them to the top category, even if Moto2 is something in-between that you would need to solve.
"Currently our product development plan is not going alongside a possible Moto3 entry. But our product development plan is reviewed every year."
Speaking at the Sepang test, Ducati Corse general manager Gigi Dall'Igna said he is still 'convinced' Moto3 would be a good move.
"I'm convinced for Ducati it would be better to also have a bike in Moto3, but we have to do step-by-step," said the Italian, who previously oversaw a title-winning programme in the 125 and 250GP classes for Piaggio's Aprilia-Derbi-Gilera brands.
"Before Moto3, we have to finalise the MotoGP project. When we are quite okay there, we can make the basis for Moto3."
Technically, Dall'Igna believes building a small capacity engine would not be a stretch for Ducati, famous for its large V-Twins, and that the Moto3 machine would use the trademark desmodromic valve system (despite a class rev-limit).
"I think that Ducati has a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge, so I don't it would be a problem... I think that anyway we will work with Desmo."
MotoGP rivals Honda already have a presence in Moto3.
Meanwhile, reigning Moto3 champion's KTM are to make a simultaneous debut in both MotoGP and Moto2 this season, meaning they will be the only factory competing in all three classes.
The Austrian brand explained that, having developed young riders into champions in Moto3, it was 'horrible' to lose them for Moto2
, especially since they now eventually need new riders in MotoGP.
However, other manufactures find Moto2's use of a single engine - currently the Honda CBR600 and, from 2018, believed to be Triumph - problematic. "Moto2 for sure is not a class that at the moment we can think about," Dall'Igna confirmed. "But Moto3 is a different story..."
Mahindra is the other Moto3 manufacturer, alongside KTM and Honda. All three won races last season.
By Peter McLaren