Moto2 frontrunner Francesco Bagnaia is in talks with the Pramac Ducati team about a potential graduation to MotoGP in 2019.
The Italian squad, which signed Jack Miller from Marc VDS Honda to join Danilo Petrucci this year, is close to agreeing terms with Bagnaia, who finished fifth in last year's Moto2 standings as the top rookie.
Bagnaia, 21, will contest a second season of Moto2 this year with Valentino Rossi's Team VR46 operation.
He previously tested a Ducati MotoGP bike for the Aspar team at Valencia in 2016, a reward for winning a bet he made with the Spanish squad when he was in Moto3.
According to a report in Gazzetto dello Sport, Bagnaia is negotiating the final details of an agreement that would most likely result in him replacing Petrucci at Pramac.
Petrucci, who will once again race a current-spec Ducati this year, has yet to win in MotoGP but has led on several occasions, and is likely to be targeting a step up to a works team in 2019.
In case the factory Ducati squad, which currently has Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo as riders, is unable to accommodate him, Aprilia is thought to be an alternative destination for Petrucci.