The MotoGP grid for 2018 season will undergo significant changes. There will not be a stir like on the last campaign when Jorge Lorenzo and Maverick Viñales were the main protagonists, but there are interesting keys for the next course.
The Spaniards will still be the majority: there will be 9 (37.5%). The second nationality with the most representatives is Italy with (5), followed by the United Kingdom (3). The Czech Republic, Australia, Belgium, France, Japan, Switzerland, and Germany have one driver. In total, there are ten countries represented on the MotoGP grid for 2018.
There will be four new riders: Takaaki Nagami (LCR Team), Franco Morbidelli, Thomas Lüthi (both with Marc VDS) and Xavier Simeon (Reale Avintia Racing). The two Marc VDS riders are battling for the Moto2 title, which will add one more world title to the MotoGP grid for 2018, and will have a total of 32 world titles – the last will be added by Márquez, Dovizioso, Viñales, Rossi or Pedrosa.
Although Honda incorporates a new face, that of Nakagami, Ducati will remain as the brand with more runners: eight. The Golden Wing brand will put on track six and Yamaha four. With two bikes will follow KTM, Suzuki, and Aprilia.
Repsol Honda Team (Marc Márquez / Dani Pedrosa). There are no changes in the official structure of Honda, which continues to bet on the Spanish duo. Their big problem at the beginning of 2017 was the acceleration, but their work during the summer break made them much better. A priori, they will face 2018 with more guarantees than the previous seasons.
LCR Honda (Cal Crutchlow / Takaaki Nakagami). Next year Crutchlow will have a direct contract with HRC and will also enjoy his new partner, one of the great demands of recent times for the pressure of competing alone. The arrival of the Japanese responds, in addition, to a desire of the organizers of the championship: that there is a grid of 24 motorcycles. If there is no change of plans, Cal will continue to test the factory material to contribute to the development of the RC213V.
Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (Franco Morbidelli / Thomas Luthi). Complete renovation of this Honda satellite team. Rabat and Miller exit will leave the two debutants who are fighting for the Moto2 title in 2017. The Italian and Swiss have shown great regularity in the intermediate category and that is probably the team’s greatest need.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (Valentino Rossi / Maverick Viñales). Few changes for Iwata’s team. Although the two riders finish contract (like most officers), the main question will be the renewal of Valentino Rossi, which will be decided mid-season. At the technical level, the main problem they must solve is the lack of traction and excessive degradation of the rear tire.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (Johann Zarco / Jonas Folger). The great results as Rookies allowed Zarco and Folger to secure their future in the Yamaha ranks. Both have shown that there is a small door open to ride an official bike in case Rossi retires.
Ducati Team (Andrea Dovizioso / Jorge Lorenzo). The Spaniard is clear that if Ducati improves the bike’s spin at maximum lean angle, his victory and title options will increase considerably. He considers that he has adapted quite well to the Desmosedici and that the bike has proved to be complete. The results of Dovizioso (second in the championship with four victories) endorse the Majorcan’s thesis.
Octo Pramac Ducati (Danilo Petrucci / Jack Miller). Redding’s difficulties made him lose his seat on the Ducati satellite team. It will be replaced by Jack Miller, who lives a similar situation in the Marc VDS. With the great sensations that these two riders have demonstrated their abilities on wet, we will have to take them into account when the rain comes. And dry, of course. Do not forget that Petrucci has achieved three podiums so far in 2017.
Pull & Bear Aspar (Álvaro Bautista / Karel Abraham). The Valencian team is maintained with the same alignment. The great news is that Bautista will have in his garage a GP17, the prototype with which Dovizioso is a candidate for the crown.
Reale Avintia (Tito Rabat / Xavier Simeon). Total change for 2018. Rabat lands in Avintia to look for a change of airs and a motorcycle that adapts more to its physical characteristics. Simeon has taken advantage of the strength of its sponsors to compete for the first time in the premier class. The last Belgian to do so was Sebastien Legrelle in the 2000 season.
KTM, Suzuki, Aprilia
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (Pol Espargaró / Bradley Smith). The evolution of the Austrian brand has been remarkable. Now they fight more or less regularly for the top ten, but Bradley Smith is having a lot of problems. The great performance of the tester, Mika Kallio, is even questioning the decision to keep the contract with the Briton. KTM needs to see improvements so everything follows the script so far. As for the technique, everything points to the chassis is the point to work. The engine has a great power, although the tubular frame causes the motorcycle nervous.
Suzuki Ecstar (Andrea Iannone / Álex Rins). The Hamamatsu brand has more difficulties than expected. They bet on a radical change for this year, but they have not been able to replicate the good feelings of 2016. Spinning and stability in braking are great points to examine, and it seems they have started to do so in the test after Aragon, where they used a new chassis.
Aprilia Racing Gresini (Aleix Espargaró / Scott Redding). The situation is the opposite in KTM: the chassis is “incredible” according to Aleix Espargaró, but it takes a lot of power because the RS-GP is the “slower” bike on the grid. To contribute to the development will come Scott Redding. The Briton will replace Sam Lowes, one of the men with more difficulties in 2017 (if not the most).