Following a dramatic #FinalShowdown on Sunday that saw Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) take his sixth World Championship, the dust is allowed to settle for one day only – with action then beginning again on Tuesday at 10:00am (GMT +1) for the first two-day test for 2018.
There are less rider moves than last season, and the Repsol Honda Team of Marquez and Valencia GP winner teammate Dani Pedrosa once again remain the same as they gear up to defend the triple crown of Constructors, Team and Rider Championships they took this year. Championship runner up Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), meanwhile, will already be at work trying to ensure those titles come to Ducati next year, alongside teammate Jorge Lorenzo as he looks to make a serious charge forward next year.
Movistar Yamaha duo Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi will be wanting to maximise their track time, too, as they suffered a more difficult final part of the 2017 season. Their mission is simple: get back to the dominant form that saw them run away with the preseason timesheets last year. And Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) – Rookie of the Year and top Independent Team rider – will officially be a sophomore.
The same is true of KTM, and Red Bull KTM Factory racing will be laying early foundations for their second season following a stunning first year – with the line-up unchanged: Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith. Meanwhile, Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins say last preseason saw them choose a couple of wrong directions – and progress has been good of late. They’ll be pushing to make the most of the track time. Aprilia, too – and the Noale factory have a new rider.
Scott Redding moves to Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, with Jack Miller moving to Octo Pramac Racing alongside Danilo Petrucci. Fellow Ducati runners Reale Avintia Racing get two new riders in the form of Tito Rabat and Xavier Simeon, and Simeon is not the only rookie – with Franco Morbidelli moving to MotoGP™ at EG 0,0 Marc VDS, and to be joined in the garage by Tom Lüthi in 2018, although the Swiss rider sits out the test due to injury sustained in Sepang.
Takaaki Nakagami is the other graduate to the premier class, as the Japanese rider joins LCR Honda alongside Cal Crutchlow. Bragging rights will be up for grabs for those moving up for the first time, but more importantly, so will their first taste of the next season.
Now the engines fire up, we see the first glimpse of 2018 on the horizon and get a first look at new rider and team combinations – and they try and get as much data as possible before the winter break.