Ducati has made Jorge Lorenzo a lucrative multi-million pound offer to quit Yamaha.
Desperate to sign a top rider while the future of Casey Stoner remains the subject of intense speculation, Marlboro has offered the 22-year-old a bumper £13m two-year deal.
MCN understands Lorenzo had further talks with Phillip Morris executives in Brno on Sunday night, though the Spaniard insists his first choice is to remain in Yamaha’s factory squad.
Marlboro is ready to bankroll a swoop for Lorenzo with the tobacco giant anxious to capture a big name should Stoner’s health issues drag on. Stoner is undertaking a period of complete rest to try and regain fitness for a planned return to action at the Estoril round in Portugal in early October.
Lorenzo said: “Ducati is an option. The important is to have a bike that can win the championship. It seems the Yamaha is the best right now,”
A decision from Lorenzo is imminent, with his manager Marcos Hircht revealing a decision could be made as early as tomorrow (Wednesday), and an announcement would likely be made in Indianapolis.