The post-season test at Valencia is underway for the MotoGP Championship right now, giving us a hint at what to expect for the 2019 season.
The event is like a first date, with riders often getting their first laps on new machines, many of who are doing so with their new team as well.
This is also our chance to get to see some of the developments that teams have been working on for the next season, with the black fairings of test bikes hiding unknown technical secrets.
For this year’s edition of the Valencia Test, the big headline was Jorge Lorenzo riding the Honda RC213V for the first time.
Still under contract with Ducati Corse, words from Lorenzo about the switch are not available, but the sight itself was certainly a transition. We shall see how he does alongside Marc Marquez in the factory Honda garage.
Andrea Iannone’s switch from Suzuki to Aprilia was another major shakeup in the series, and only time will tell how the two Italians get along with each other. For Iannone, this is likely his last hope for a factory ride in MotoGP; and for Aprilia, this next season is a make-or-break moment for the struggling factory effort.
Fewer changes are occurring in the Movistar Yamaha garage, as Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales remain for the 2019 season, despite difficulties this year. Saying he is a new man now though, Viñales has switched his number from 25 to 12.
Of course the big Team Blue news is the arrival of the Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing team, with riders Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo. The team has a lot of promise, but also a lot of work ahead of them, so it will be interesting to see how they develop for 2019.
The final big piece of news was the KTM Tech3 team, which makes the name-changing move of using Austrian hardware instead of Japanese. One of the strongest satellite teams in the MotoGP paddock, we expect big things from Tech3 now that they are using KTM bikes instead of Yamahas.
Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing
KTM Racing / KTM Tech3
Title Photo: MotoGP