Here are some of the latest credible rumours passed on to by sources within the Sepang paddock:

"Troy Bayliss may keep his seat at Ducati Marlboro, but the team are also known to be considering factory Yamaha rider Carlos Checa. Checa is a Marlboro favourite. The final decision on rider line-up will be made by Ducati and endorsed by Philip Morris."

"Should Ducati decide on a young charger, Suzuki's John Hopkins could be in contention. 'Hopper' is currently enjoying superb form in his third season of premier-class competition and would help the Bologna based company with the important US market. Ducati is also owned by Texas Pacific Group, an American investment fund."

"Four Suzuki team members will be joining team manager Garry Taylor in leaving at the end of this season."

"Three riders are in line for the second factory Honda seat alongside Nicky Hayden in 2005. Two of the three under consideration are (unsurprisingly) Max Biaggi and Sete Gibernau. But who is the third...?"

"A major shake-up of the Nicky Hayden side of the Repsol Honda garage will see around four of his existing crew leave at the end of the season."

Round 14 of the 2004 world championship, the Malaysian Grand Prix, takes place on Sunday.



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