Gresini Honda incumbent Alvaro Bautista's MotoGP career looks to have been given a reprieve following the news that Jonathan Rea will remain in the World Superbike Championship with Honda for 2013.
Well, unless of course HRC take a gamble with Britain's Scott Redding or wheel in someone from the homeland that will make almost everyone sit up and ask 'Who?' as one paddock wag put it.
For Rea to sign on the dotted line must mean Honda are extremely serious about winning World Superbikes next year and the year after, especially given the Irishman still has at least one more outing on Casey Stoner's RC213V to go at Aragon this weekend and Bautista's seat hasn't been confirmed.
It is believed HRC will be taking a bigger interest in the WSBK operation and giving the Ten Kate team some added technical support in 2013, including new software to drive their Cosworth electronics hardware.
Honda's CEO said last week the company intends to build a new superbike in the spirit of the RVF750 (RC30) and if that bike achieves a fraction of what its predecessor managed, then Rea and new team-mate Leon Haslam are going to be handed something special in 2014.
There was rumour in the Misano MotoGP paddock that a 90° V-four RC213V had been spotted being wheeled out of an HRC truck and into another HRC truck, so that motor could form the base of the new Fireblade, or whatever it will be called.
Whatever, Rea and Haslam will be expected to perform and could well find themselves together at the 2013 Suzuka Eight-Hours under the watchful eye of HRC chief Shuhei Nakamoto, among others…