Four-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez is likely to remain loyal to current employer Honda rather than gamble on a switch to a rival manufacturer, his manager Emilio Alzamora has said.
Marquez secured his fourth premier class title in the space of five years this season, and has only competed for the works Repsol Honda team since his MotoGP debut in 2013.
However, the Spaniard's close links to Red Bull have prompted speculation that he could make the switch to KTM at some point in the future, as the energy drinks giant is the Austrian firm's title sponsor.
Marquez, along with the vast majority of the MotoGP grid, is out of contract at the end of 2018, but Alzamora believes Marquez remains keen to stay at Honda for the foreseeable future.
"Marc never forgets that Honda was the manufacturer that gave him the opportunity to make his debut, to win races and MotoGP titles," Alzamora told Spanish newspaper El Periodico.
"Honda will always be Marc's first choice."
For its part, Honda is keen not to repeat the mistake it made with Valentino Rossi in the early 2000s, when it underestimated the Italian's role in its success and eventually lost him to arch-rival Yamaha.
Ex-team principal Livio Suppo believes that Honda will be willing to step up its financial commitment to ward off potential interest from rival factories.
"Marc is the best rider, he's irreplaceable," Suppo told Motorsport.com before the recent news of his departure from HRC.
"We know he's the rider everyone would choose to have, and that's why we really appreciate having him.
"Resigning him will depend on whether he has a willingness to win for another manufacturer and also on his feelings with next year's bike.
"But, financially, I don't think Honda will have a problem in making him a good offer."
Marquez's last contract renewal was signed in May 2016, and was worth around 9m euros a year.
However, given Jorge Lorenzo is now earning 14m euros at Ducati, it seems likely Honda will have to raise its offer to a similar level to be certain of retaining its number one rider.