New Challenges


New challenges

Once again, Marc Marquez will be the man to beat in the MotoGP championship this year. With now five titles obtained in just six seasons in the premier-class category, the Spanish makes the counters crazy. But no one is infallible. Taking maximum risks and a number of falls during the practice test sessions  that also flirts with record numbers, Marquez is not immune to a glitch. Especially since he had to undergo lengthy surgery last winter to get a shoulder back into shape that had an unfortunate tendency to dislocate.

The convalescence was long, and the winter tests were no fun for the Honda rider. His opponents expect to benefit from that fact at the start of a season that could be complicated for the titleholder to score the points he'll need. As for the last two years, Andrea Dovizioso and his Ducati intend to remain the main rivals of Marquez and Honda. Now supported by Danilo Petrucci, Dovi seems to have progressed again last year. Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi hope that the changes made to their Yamaha will allow them to do well. The Spaniard was impressive this winter during test rides in Sepang and Doha. Another Spaniard made his mark during the pre-season tests.

Alex Rins. Although he's still racing after his first win in MotoGP, the Catalan clocked up the podiums last year and the new-found fitness of his Suzuki could make him an unexpected contender for the title. We'll also be watching the progress of KTM in 2019. The Austrian manufacturer has doubled its commitment to MotoGP by enlisting the Tech 3 team. The team led by Hervé Poncharal will be riding RC16s identical to those of the official riders (Johann Zarco and Pol Espargaro), their mission being to accelerate the development of the Austrian bike with Miguel Oliveira and Hafizh Syahrin. An exciting challenge in which the Total group has joined.

This season, the Moto2 championship is getting a makeover with the replacement of the Honda 600 four-cylinder engine with a Triumph three-cylinder 765cc. With an additional twenty horsepower and engine torque values significantly higher, the riders will have a more powerful machine, but also more fun. Kalex and KTM will continue to share the chassis market while on the riders side, the switch over to MotoGP by Francesco Bagnaia and Miguel Oliveira, respectively champion and vice-champion in 2018, but also of Joan Mir and Fabio Quartararo should be useful for Brad Binder, Álex Márquez and Lorenzo Baldassari who finished third, fourth and fifth last year in the Moto2 World Championship.

We'll also be watching Luca Marini, winner of his first Grand Prix and seventh overall, as well as Mattia Pasini, Marcel Schrotter, Tom Luthi, Sam Lowes and Xavi Vierge, who has joined the Marc VDS team alongside Álex Márquez this season. All of these veterans will however be wary of the ambitious young riders who have moved up to Moto3, such as Marco Bezzecchi and Philipp Oettl who will be riding the KTMs for the team Tech 3 and flying the Elf flag.


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