For some the 2018 season ended great; for many and others, well… they just couldn’t wait for their new beginning in the following month. There are quite a few changes coming for 2019 and in case you haven’t been following: team changes, rider changes, and even number changes.
We’ll start with the teams. Tech 3 dropped Yamaha and picked up KTM. So you will now see Tech 3 KTM which sounds weird, it doesn’t quite roll of the tongue like it did before. However, the Black and White Red Bull livery is sleek, and is easily one of my favorite. Marc VDS dropped out and Petronas Yamaha has replaced Angel Nieto Ducati as the new Yamaha satellite team.
Now onto the riders. Try and hold your breath for this one. Ready, set, go!
Lorenzo will now ride next Marc Marquez on Repsol Honda team replacing retired Dani Pedrosa. Petrucci moves from satellite Pramac Ducati to replace Lorenzo on Ducati team. Francesco Bagnaia, one of 4 rookies (will get to them in a minute) from Moto2 replaces Petrucci on satellite team Pramac Ducati. Iannone moves from Suzuki Ecstar to replace Scott Redding on Aprilia Racing Team Gresini. Joan Mir, another rookie from Moto2 replaces Iannone on Suzuki Ecstar. Zarco moves from Tech 3 to replace Bradley Smith (moving to MotoE), on RedBull KTM Factory. Abraham moves from Angel Nieto Ducati (now defunct) to replace Simeon (moving to MotoE) on Avintia Ducati. Morbidelli from Marc VDS and Fabio Quartararo, another rookie from Moto2, fill the new Petronas Yamaha. Ending with Miguel Oliveira the last rookie to join the quartet to ride for Tech3 KTM. Bautisa, well.. the Spaniard plans to be the man to push Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) off the top spot of the championship, which is anything but straight forward. Scott Redding heads to British Superbike Championship (BSB)
Whew, that’s a lot of moving around and did you catch those rookies? Mir, Quartararo, Oliveira, and Bagnaia all came up from Moto2. Quartararo finished 10th and Mir finished 6th last year, not the most exciting. Not like Oliveira and Bagnaia which ended the season within 10 points of each other with Bagnaia coming up on top. These two each, ended their season with 13 podiums and 0 wrecks. Even though Bagnaia came out as the winner, Oliveira seemed to be more consistent. Oliveira always stayed within arms reach of the podium in the other 6 whereas Bagnaia only managed to stay in the top 10 for 3 out of those 6. That being said I still think it’ll be a tight race between the two for ROTY.
Moto2 will see some changes, notable for sure is Triumph’s entrance as an engine with their 762cc triple.
And last but not least, the number change. #26 is now #12. Vinales made this change just days after the 2018 season ended. He “wants a fresh start.” He has a new rider coach, Julian Simon, a new crew chief, Esteban Garcia, a new engine, and now a new number. Why 12? From what I have read, his childhood motocross number was 12 and early into his career that was his number as well. When moving up the the next level the 12 was always taken so he took on 25. The last 2 years has been something of a wreck for him and he’s hoping that with all the “new” it will bring out the best.
Well there you have it. Already some excitement for the 2019 season. I know it’s only December and we haven’t even had Christmas, but I’m counting down the days.94 days til’ Qatar on the wall, 94 days til’ Qatar..