While rumours of an early Honda exit have been circulating since Misano, with Marquez declining multiple chances to end the speculation, Ducati had always brushed off the possibility of the 59-time MotoGP winner joining younger brother Alex at Gresini.

But speaking to Dorna’s Jack Appleyard on Saturday at the Indian Grand Prix, Ducati sporting director Paolo Ciabatti said:

“As far as Gresini goes, I think it looks like they have this opportunity and they are waiting for Marquez’s decision.

“We hear what you hear. So he [Marquez] will talk to Honda management in Japan and make a decision. But it’s something up to him and the team.”

Ducati's factory team manager Davide Tardozzi then gave similar comments, praising Marquez and saying any team would try to sign him.

"If Marc comes to Ducati, it's fine with us. We like Marc. Everyone loves Marc. he's an eight-time world champion. Marc is the past, the present and the future," Tardozzi told Spain's DAZN.

"Gresini has the right to choose the best rider possible and, if Marc proposes himself, they have the right and duty to take him into consideration," Tardozzi told Sky Italia. "No one knows what will happen at this moment."

After taking his first top-three finish since the Portimao Sprint in India on Saturday, Marquez was asked about those comments and if he will indeed make a final decision after crunch talks with Honda in Japan next weekend, telling MotoGP.com:

“Of course, I heard those comments but nobody's inside my head. I'm very clever and I know what I want and I know which is the correct time.”

If his Honda future is still hanging in the balance, Saturday's performance might have come at a critical time.

"It was a good race," said Marquez, who finished behind only current Ducati title leaders Jorge Martin (1st) and Francesco Bagnaia (2nd).

"With Marini’s fall and Bezzecchi out at turn 1, they were two riders that were faster than me. I also knew Binder was starting from the back. So I saw the opportunity.

"In the last five laps, I was riding like qualifying, pushing the front [to hold Binder off]. But it was a good day.

"Tomorrow will be more difficult but it looks like at this race track, not only me but also Joan [Mir] is riding in a good way.

"It’s also important because normally with this harder rear tyre casing, I’m struggling a lot with my riding style. Here I’m able to change a bit, to not ride in my way, to be very smooth, just some slides to take profit."