Andrea Dovizioso has given the clearest indication yet that he will join Ducati's works MotoGP squad from 2013.
The Italian has been strongly linked to the seat vacated by Valentino Rossi at the Desmosedici team, and has made no secret of his desire to be a works rider next season, even if his original intention was to land the ride Rossi will now take at Yamaha.
Dovizioso, who scored his fifth podium of the year for Tech 3 at Indianapolis, indicated that his discussions with Ducati were nearing a conclusion, while also admitting he was confident he could adapt to a bike which has troubled numerous riders, Rossi among them.
"No rider likes to change often, but it's OK: I have adapted to the Yamaha bike, so I'll do the same with the Ducati," Dovizioso told Gazzetta dello Sport. "Honestly, these days are not so peculiar: these things need time. It's not as if you sign the day after you start talking. You ponder your chances inside your head, and this has been happening for a while."
He said that even if a deal with Ducati is confirmed his focus and approach will be unchanged until the season finishes at Valencia, adding: "This week will be normal because nothing's changing until Valencia."
Asked about Dovizioso's previously stated desire to ride for Yamaha, Ducati team manager Vittoriano Guareschi said he was unconcerned given his own outfit's stated desire to keep Rossi.
"We, too, first did everything possible to keep Valentino," he said. "Only then [did] we contact him...[Dovizioso]."
Should Dovizioso agree a switch to Ducati, every works ride for 2013 will therefore be settled. The Italian's Tech 3 teammate Cal Crutchlow could miss out entirely, having recently suggested Ducati lied to him after he was heavily linked with a 2013 ride in the early part of the season.