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First it was Ducati Corse in Switzerland, and now it is Repsol Honda in Madrid, as the factory-backed MotoGP team debuted its 2019 team and livery. The bikes look the same, the goal hasn’t changed, but the big news from Sepang was seeing Jorge Lorenzo in Repsol orange.

Lorenzo was wrapped in bandages of course, still fresh from the surgery on his left scaphoid, which he broke while training. This meant his leathers had to be cut along the left arm so he could get in and out of them, and it will also delay some of the press photos of the 2019 Honda RC213V race bike.

As far as debuts go, that is not a great start, but it will have little effect on perhaps the biggest shakeup in the MotoGP paddock over the past few seasons.

The Yamaha YZF-R1 GYTR is one special machine, and only 20 of them will be made worldwide.

That production number helps commemorate the fact that this is the 20th anniversary of the YZF-R1 superbike, and the bike also helps give a nod to the fact that this year Yamaha won the Suzuka 8-Hour endurance race an unprecedented fourth time in a row.

A track-only machine, the Yamaha YZF-R1 GYTR will be painstakingly built by members from the Suzuka-winning Official Yamaha Racing Team crew. Though it is littered with parts from the GYTR catalog and other sponsors, Yamaha is curious mum when it comes to any performance figures about the bike.

It is not uncommon for manufacturer to merely update a motorcycle’s graphics package for a new model year, even if no other mechanical changes are coming. It helps keep the bike fresh in the consumers’ eyes, and perhaps it is just enough to lure some would-be buyers into a purchase.

This started the marketing phrase “bold new graphics” to be uttered when such visual refreshes occurred, but in the past decade or so, the phrase has taken on more of an ironic meaning to show that no new changes are coming for a particular motorcycle model, leaving only the color change to be touted.

In the case of the MV Agusta F3, however, the phrase “bold new graphics” is quite literal, as the graphics are indeed bold in color and application, and they are a bit of a departure from what we would expect from the Italian brand.

The Yamaha YZF-R1 clocked its 20th anniversary this year, a monumental achievement for the original 1,000cc superbike.

Potent from its first debut in 1998, the YZF-R1 is still at the top of the heap, winning the 2018 MotoAmerica Championship, as well as an unprecedented four-in-a-row victories at the prestigious Suzuka 8-Hours endurance race.

To help celebrate this birthday, Yamaha Motor has been touting a throwback livery on its racing machines, and now the Iwata brand is making that red and white livery available to its European fans.

More than just a paint job though, this 2019 Yamaha YZF-R1 GYTR superbike has some very trick parts, which will make the 20 lucky souls who buy one very happy.

Last week, we brought you our first good look at what the 2019 BMW S1000RR will look like, as BMW Motorrad registered design patents of the machine that showed off its sporty lines.

The grayscale CAD models of the superbike are very detailed, but their cold grey tones can only show so much of what the motorcycle will feel like once we see it debut at EICMA later this year.

Thankfully, one of our readers – Csorin – is pretty good with a pen. Photoshopping in some color and liveries over the gray models, the 2019 BMW S1000RR comes to life.

It is amazing what some artwork and lines can do in terms of reshaping the way a motorcycle looks, and Csorin’s work is a testament to the graphic designers throughout the industry, who spend all day making ugly look good.

We are big fans of the creations that Team Classic Suzuki has been churning out. Stop what you’re doing right now, look at this Katana race bike, and try to disagree with our enthusiasm. It cannot be done.

Taking their touch to the current Suzuki GSX-R1000R superbike, we see what this tire-shredder would look like in a retro-mod livery that is inspired by the bodywork found on the original GSX-R750.

So far it sounds like the bike is a one-off, done by our friends across the pond, but we think Suzuki should seriously consider some throwback paint schemes in its lineup.

Until then, items of note include a number of tasty Giles-made bits, straight from the Suzuki performance catalog, otherwise the bike shown here is pretty much stock.

Overall, the effect shown here is superb, and a big step forward from the powder blue that the GSX-R1000R comes in from the Suzuki factory. We think you will agree.

Per usual, no pixel was spared in the photos on this post. So enjoy the details, in their ultra high-resolution glory.

The 2018 team liveries continue to debut, and this weekend the ECSTAR Suzuki squad took the wraps off its design for the Suzuki GSX-RR…which looks pretty much like the old one.

As we have seen from Yamaha and Ducati, these unveils are now becoming less about showing off the new machines for the upcoming season, and instead are becoming more of a PR exercise to get attention for their sponsors – with little substance offered for the affair, we might add.

That being said, we can catch a couple interesting glimpses from Suzuki’s photos, as the MotoGP team focuses on evolving its 2017 racing platform. 

Of note is that ECSTAR Suzuki has seemingly acquired the carbon fiber fork tubes from Öhlins, which Ducati was last year with positive results. It also seems that the tail fairing design is longer than last year’s, likely to aid aerodynamics. Can you spot other changes as well?

With Andrea Iannone seemingly showing a renewed commitment to the team, and Alex Rins finally in good health, Suzuki is looking to build upon its otherwise unremarkable 2017 MotoGP season. 

Can the Suzuki GSX-RR fight for races in 2018, though? That remains to be seen.  

While the MotoGP boys are in Sepang right now, working properly on their 2018 machines (including revised aerodynamic packages), back home the teams are busy debuting their liveries for next season.

We have already seen Ducati’s new colors for 2018, and now it is Movistar Yamaha’s turn to show us the livery that Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales will wear for the coming season. No surprises here, it’s very blue.

While not too much has changed visually (these launches are becoming more a PR event, rather than a glimpse into next year’s racing machines) though Yamaha Racing have news for us that it has tied up Viñales with a two-year contract extension.

Of course, we can expect similar news from Valentino Rossi in the coming months, as the Italian is set to finish his career with Team Blue, before likely transitioning into a team owner rule inside the paddock.

All of that will come at a later day, however, and right now the 2018 MotoGP Championship season is rapidly approaching. Until the green flag waves at Qatar, we have some high-res photos of the 2018 Yamaha livery and for you to drool over.

The difference in perspective between team managers and riders is always fascinating. Team bosses always have an eye to the big picture, to the coming year and beyond.

Riders are usually looking no further ahead than the next session or the next race. Anything beyond that is out of their control, and not worth wasting valuable energy worrying about. The future is a bridge they will cross when they come to it.

That difference was all too evident at the Ducati launch in Bologna on Monday.

While the people in charge of Ducati – Paolo Ciabatti, Davide Tardozzi, and Gigi Dall’Igna – were already thinking of managing rider signings and sponsorship deals for 2019 and beyond, Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo were mostly concerned about the Sepang test and about being competitive in the 2018 season.

New contracts for 2019 were on their horizons, but compared to their bosses, it was little more than a blip. First, there is a championship to win.

Andrea Dovizioso has spent the winter relaxing, and preparing for the new season. He starts the year as one of the title favorites, not a position he has been accustomed to.

A great sensation, and one I had lost in the last few years” is how the Italian described it. He did not feel the pressure of that sensation, but rather saw it as a challenge.

Sure, he was one of the favorites, but there were a lot of competitive bikes with riders capable of winning. “The level of competitiveness has become very high in MotoGP in the last three years,” he said. “There are many riders who can win races. It wasn’t like this in the past.”

MotoGP team launches are always the triumph of hope over experience. Each year, the bosses of every factory in the series tell the media that their objective is to win races and fight for the championship. Sometimes, they even believe it.

At last year’s launch of the Ducati MotoGP team, Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall’Igna said they hoped to be fighting for the championship. That, after all, is why they signed Jorge Lorenzo to what is reported to be a very lucrative contract.

The assembled press was skeptical, despite the clear progress that Ducati had made in the past couple of seasons, its first wins coming in 2016.

Such skepticism was unwarranted, though you get the distinct feeling that even Ducati was surprised at how close Andrea Dovizioso came to clinching the 2017 MotoGP title.

Ducati was delighted by the Italian’s first win at Mugello, amazed at his victory in Barcelona a week later, and impressed by the way he beat Marc Márquez at Austria.

By the end of the season, Ducati had come to expect to win races, and realized just how far they had come on their journey since the dark days of 2013, when they didn’t score a single podium all year.

So on Monday, when Dall’Igna echoed the words of Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali in Bologna, that Ducati’s objective was to win races and challenge for the championship in MotoGP, they were deadly serious.

There is no doubt that Ducati is capable of doing just that – Dovizioso’s results and Lorenzo’s improvement in 2017 demonstrate that – and though they are all too aware of the dangers of complacency, Ducati start the 2018 season with both a firm expectation and belief that they are candidates for the 2018 MotoGP title.

This is almost certainly not the 2018 Ducati Desmosedici GP race bike for next season’s MotoGP Championship, but it does look a lot like it. That is because today Ducati unveiled its 2018 MotoGP team, with its fresh new livery design.

The bikes used in these photos of course are of the 2017 model, complete with its hammerhead front fairing design. We expect the 2018 edition of the Desmosedici GP to have more obvious changes (likely improved aero), though it is hard to tell when Ducati will take the wraps off that race bike officially.

Strong money would be on a Qatar debut, just ahead of the 2018 MotoGP Championship’s season-opener. However, the Italian brand could surprise us at Sepang with some new fairings or mechanical pieces.

One thing is for certain though: Ducati aims to win the championship this next season.

With Andrea Dovizioso finishing as last year’s runner-up, taking the fight all the way to Valencia; and Jorge Lorenzo finally looking comfortable and fast on the Ducati; the Italian brand is looking stronger than ever before (save for maybe the 2007 season, with Casey Stoner on-board).