Dani Pedrosa and Franco Morbidelli insist nothing has been finalised regarding their 2019 MotoGP plans, amid growing rumours they are to join a new Petronas-backed satellite Yamaha team.

But factory Yamaha star Valentino Rossi certainly sounded confident that his protegee Morbidelli will be on an M1 next season.

On Thursday afternoon at Assen, the Italian said: "It is good for Yamaha to have four bikes on the grid and looks like it [Petronas Yamaha] will be a good project. With a good sponsor. And also with good riders.

"And one is Franco, who will be very very happy if he can ride the Yamaha.

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"Like we saw in the last two years with Tech3 and especially with Zarco, it's good to have other fast riders on the bike. It can help also to improve the bike."

The Doctor added: "I spend a lot of time with Franco, I know his potential and he can be strong also with the MotoGP bike. I think that he already demonstrated something good this year, even if the bike and situation in the [Marc VDS] team is not easy.

"But he did already some good races and I think he can be strong with a Yamaha. But like I said always to him, I hope not enough to beat me!"

Reigning Moto2 champion Morbidelli, who has a best MotoGP finish of ninth this season, admitted he had spoken with Rossi about next year and that it would be 'a great thing' if the rumours prove correct.

"Yes, we spoke about it," Morbidelli said. "It was like a discussion at the bar. Nothing is real [about the 2019 project] yet, so I cannot say anything for sure. We spoke about it, but just a chat between two friends."

But if it happens, "it would be something great for me. It would be really good to get a more updated bike and get more feedback and information from the factory."

Pedrosa meanwhile gave a repeat of his pre-Catalunya statements.

"I know there are a lot of people waiting and wanting to know some information, but unfortunately not yet. I can't give any different news from what I already in Barcelona," he said of next season.

"Still things are going slow, so we don't know at this moment exactly. Sooner or later I will have something to say!"

Representatives from the Sepang International Circuit - which is being backed by Petronas to set-up the proposed new MotoGP team - are due at Assen this weekend to continue negotiations over grid places (from the Angel Nieto Team?), machinery (2019-specification Yamahas?) and riders (Pedrosa and Morbidelli?)

The Sepang team, which currently competes in the Moto2 and Moto3 classes, would also need to source additional staff (Wilco Zeelenberg as team manager?) and equipment, some of which could come from Aspar and Marc VDS (thought to be withdrawing from MotoGP).

If all goes well, an official announcement on a Petronas-SIC-Yamaha project could then be made.

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