The Italian rider is eligible to return for the 2024 season, once his four-year doping ban expires in December.

Iannone has teased a comeback during test days in Italy - most recently riding a Panigale V4 alongside Ducati test rider Michele Pirro.

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"I have the highest esteem for Andrea Iannone,” Ducati sporting director Ciabatti told Sky when questioned if he could return.

“Even if four years away from racing is a long time. He has kept himself in training.

“But it is also true that in the meantime very young riders have come out who are very strong. 

“Never say never, but I see it as very difficult."

Iannone might find that the door to Ducati’s World Superbikes team is ajar, if the MotoGP options are locked off.

Ducati, Barni Spark Racing, Motorcorsa and GoEleven riders  Alvaro Bautista, Danilo Petrucci, Axel Bassani and Philipp Oettl are all on one-year contracts that will expire at the end of 2023.