Andrea Iannone gave the clearest indication yet that he will move into MotoGP next year following his three-day Mugello test with Ducati.
The 23-year-old Italian, currently fourth in the Moto2 riders' championship, had been heavily linked with a full-time ride with Ducati. While the second works seat went to Andrea Dovizioso, Iannone looks set to land a satellite bike ride, possibly under the proposed Ducati Junior Team banner.
Following his three-day test, Iannone admitted: "At this stage I'd say it's almost obvious but it still has to be announced... However anyone can guess where I'll be next year."
Iannone also said that he had worked his way down to a lap of 1m48.3s around Mugello, around two tenths of a second faster than Valentino Rossi achieved in qualifying this year - although Nicky Hayden did manage better, recording a 1m47.671s.
"I lapped in 1m48.3s [on Thursday] and my feeling with the team and Ducati was great, but this bike isn't easy to ride," he revealed. "I wasn't expecting this kind of lap time so I'm quite happy. Filippo [Preziosi] was satisfied because it was the first time that I really got to work with the team.
"Overall it's been a great experience as I felt quite comfortable but for now the priority is to focus on the [Moto2] world championship in Misano."
Iannone's future is expected to be decided in the coming weeks.
An announcement regarding the formation of the Ducati Junior Team is also expected shortly. Alongside Iannone several riders have been linked with a ride, including Yamaha's departing works rider Ben Spies.
In other news, Avintia Blusens confirmed that Ivan Silva will be replaced by World Superbike rider David Salom for the rest of the season, starting from Misano. Silva is expected to stay with the team as test and reserve rider.