Joan Mir has signed a pre-contract with Honda which, if activated, would promote him to a place in the Japanese marque's works MotoGP team, Motorsport.com has learned.
Reigning Moto3 champion and current Marc VDS Moto2 rider Mir would replace Dani Pedrosa alongside Marc Marquez in the factory squad's line-up for 2019 if Honda takes up its option on him.
Honda announced a new two-year contract for Marquez prior to the start of the season, but hesitated on renewing Pedrosa, preferring to wait to see how the rider market would develop.
Tech 3 Yamaha's Johann Zarco was at one stage a contender to become Marquez's teammate for 2019 before he signed for KTM, leaving Mir as the only realistic alternative to Pedrosa.
Honda has still yet to open negotiations about Pedrosa for 2019, suggesting there are still doubts over whether to retain the former double 250cc champion or take a gamble on a youngster like Mir.
At Le Mans last weekend, team boss Alberto Puig revealed that a final decision will be made no later than the Barcelona race in the middle of June.
However, Honda's pre-contract with Mir expires at the end of May, after which time the 20-year-old would be free to begin talks with Suzuki and Ducati, who have also expressed interest in him.
Mir is believed to be Suzuki's second choice to place alongside the recently-renewed Alex Rins, in the event that Jorge Lorenzo ultimately remains with the factory Ducati team.
Likewise, Ducati is assessing how it could fit Mir into its plans for 2019 should Lorenzo depart, as has been strongly suggested by Danilo Petrucci.
Mir scored his first Moto2 podium last weekend at Le Mans, and stated before the season that his preference would be to move up to MotoGP as soon as possible.