The rider line-up for the 2019 Moto GP championship has been locked in for some time with four riders set to make their Moto GP debut under lights in round one in Qatar on March 10.
The 17-round championship will feature two less riders than this year with 22 riders from nine different countries riding bikes from six different manufacturers.
Heading the line-up will be five-time champion Marc Marquez with the 25-year-old Spaniard aiming to continue his dominance that has seen the Honda factory rider win on 42 occasions from 108 starts.
He will have a new team mate in 2019 with three-time champion Jorge Lorenzo moving from Ducati to form what many believe will be the dream team.
The vastly experienced 33-year-old Spaniard has recorded 47 wins from 188 starts with Yamaha and Ducati and this will be his first time on a Honda.
Andrea Doviziosa has finished second for the factory Ducati team in the past two years and the 32-year-old Italian will not only be hoping to go one better next year, but add to his 12 wins from 195 starts.
His new team mate will be former Alma Pramac Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci who replaces the outgoing Jorge Lorenzo, and with only six podiums from 118 starts and no wins, he will need to make the most of being part of the factory team.
Australia’s Jack Miller will remain with the Alma Pramac Ducati team, but for next year the 23-year-old will be riding a 2019 version, the same as the factory bikes, in contrast to the 2017 model he raced this year.
There is no question Miller has the speed to run with the leaders but he needs to stay on the bike to have any chance of adding to his one win in 66 starts.
Miller will be joined by 21-year-old Italian rookie Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia who won this year’s Moto 2 championship.
The Yamaha factory team remains unchanged with 23-year-old Spaniard Maverick Vinales looking to prove that he can be a consistent front runner and worthy of the hype when he moved into the premier class.
With five wins from 71 starts he is long way short of his Italian team mate Valentino Rossi who in 18 years in the premier class, has amassed seven championships and a total of 89 wins from 322 starts.
Australia’s Jack Miller will remain with the Alma Pramac Ducati team but for next year the 23-year-old will be riding a 2019 version, the same as the factory bikes, in contrast to the 2017 model he raced this year.
Not bad for a 39-year-old who finished third in the championship this year.
The Suzuki factory team has retained 23-year-old (birthday this weekend) Spaniard Alex Rins for his third year with the team, and he has shown that his five podiums from 31 starts is a positive sign for him and the improving Suzuki outfit.
He will be joined by 21-year-old rookie Joan Mir from Spain who was the 2017 Moto 3 champion and who replaces the outgoing Andrea Iannone.
The Red Bull KTM factory team has retained 27-year-old Spaniard Pol Espargaro who scored his and KTM’s first Moto GP podium at this year’s final round at Valencia with third place.
The 2013 Moto 2 world champion will be joined by 28-year-old Frenchman Johann Zarco who surprisingly moves from the Tech 3 Yamaha team after the two-time (2015 and 2016) Moto 2 champion showed so much promise with six podiums from 36 starts.
The new Petronas Yamaha SRT team has secured 24-year-old Italian Francesco Morbidelli who rode for the Marc VDS Honda team this year which has now withdrawn from Moto GP.
Morbidelli won the 2017 Moto 2 championship but is yet to stand on the podium in the premier class.
The signing of 19-year-old rookie Fabio Quartararo to be Morbidelli’s team mate came as a shock bearing in mind the Frenchman has finished outside the top ten in both the Moto 2 and Moto 3 championships, and only scored one race win overall in those championships.
The Red Bull Tech 3 team has switched from Yamaha to KTM retaining 24-year-old Malaysian Hafizh Syahrin for his second season in Moto GP, and he will be joined by 24-year-old rookie Miguel Oliveira from Portugal who finished second in the 2017 Moto 2 championship.
The LCR Honda team has retained 33-year-old British rider Cal Crutchlow who has scored three wins in 138 starts and is very fast, but like Miller he needs to stay on the bike to get results.
His team mate will be 26-year-old Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami who will be competing in his second year in Moto GP.
The factory Aprilia team has retained 29-year-old Spaniard Aleix Esparagaro who has only had one podium in 145 starts and a new team mate in 29-year-old Italian Andrea Iannone who replaces Scott Reading.
The final two riders are 29-year-old Czech rider Karel Abraham and 29-year-old Italian Tito Rabat who will ride for the Reale Avinta Ducati team.