Suzuki looks likely to place its faith in the experience of Randy de Puniet to spearhead its return to MotoGP in 2014.
The Frenchman is in negotiations to head development of Suzuki’s new 1000cc project, which will be extensively tested in Europe next year.
The current Aspar Aprilia ART rider is close to clinching a deal that he hopes will give him a chance of leading Suzuki’s factory effort in 2014, despite rumours already rife that the Japanese factory will target Ben Spies and Cal Crutchlow.
Suzuki blamed the on-going impact of the global financial crisis for its decision to withdraw from MotoGP at the end of last season.
But senior management have visited the recent Brno and Motegi rounds to press on with a scheduled return in 2014.
Former factory Kawasaki rider de Puniet will still race for the Aspar squad alongside Aleix Espargaro next season but an announcement on his testing deal could be made imminently.
He confirmed he has the full blessing of Aspar boss Jorge Martinez to accept the Suzuki deal.
He told MCN: “We just need to wait and see what is the Suzuki plan and to understand where and when the tests will be. But this could be a very good opportunity for me to be back on a prototype bike and to develop a factory machine. I really hope this will happen.”