AFTER Casey Stoner's bombshell announcement that he would retire at the end of the season discussion quickly shifted to who could replace the MotoGP champion in the factory Repsol Honda camp.
One big name banded around was that of Valentino Rossi, who ended his relationship with Honda abruptly. However, his well-storied struggles with Ducati have seen rumours of the Italian setting up his own privateer team and retirement spread, after his contract ends at the end of the year.
But after the news of Stoner's retirement, a seat has become available at Repsol Honda and Rossi could be a possible candidate according to the Vice President for HRC, Shuhei Nakamoto.
"At this point anything is possible, we have to think about it," Nakamoto told GPOne. "But I will talk directly with Honda Motor and the sponsors before he is even the main contact."
Repsol have been grooming Marc Marquez for the factory Honda team and he is an obvious choice, but the Rookie Rule is standing in the way of the young Spaniard stepping up to the premier class in a factory squad, having to spend a year in a satellite team first. However, as MotoGP is run by a Spanish organisation how long will this rule last for?