Ciabatti's words are highly significant since it is the first time that anyone at Ducati or Gresini has acknowledged even the possibility of Marc Marquez making a shock switch to join his brother in the satellite team.

The Marquez speculation has dominated headlines since the eight-time world champion, winless for almost 700 days, fuelled rumours of ripping up the final year of his big-money Honda contract at the previous Misano event.

Speaking to Dorna’s Jack Appleyard on Saturday at the Indian MotoGP, Ciabatti said: “As far as Gresini goes, I think it looks like they have this opportunity and they are waiting for Marquez’s decision. I see Marquez is very fast here with the Honda."

While not naming any possible alternatives, Marquez has said he will decide or announce his future around next weekend's Japanese round.

“We hear what you hear," Ciabatti continued. "So he [Marquez] will talk to Honda management in Japan and make a decision. But it’s something up to him and the team. We as Ducati have our four contracted riders [two at the factory team, two at Pramac].”

Pressed on the reality of Marc Marquez-Gresini talks, Ciabatti added:

“This is what we hear. I think everybody knows. I mean, there are no other options left. It’s the only bike without a rider and Marquez says he has three options.

"I don’t know what those three options are. One is to stay with Honda. The other two we can only guess. You should ask Marc Marquez and Gresini what is going on!”

Told that Marquez and Gresini won’t comment, Ciabatti replied: “It’s nothing that we [as Ducati] are negotiating.”

The Gresini MotoGP riders (like VR46) are contracted to the team rather than to Ducati - but it seems incomprehensible that Gresini would not at least keep Ducati informed of their rider plans.

Gresini and VR46 use year-old Ducati machinery, but that has proved no obstacle in terms of multiple race wins by both teams in recent seasons.

If Marquez leaves, new Honda signing Johann Zarco (scheduled for LCR) or Honda WorldSBK rider Iker Lecuona would likely be placed alongside Joan Mir at Repsol.

All factory teams currently have at least one seat available for 2025.