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Come in number one, your time is up

Come in number one, your time is up

With the provisional entry lists for this year´s MotoGP World Championships having been published this week, the picture is beginning to form of what the starting grid in Suzuka will look like. Strikingly, no rider will be carrying the prestigious #1 plate on the front of their machine. With Kenny Roberts Jr. having ceded the number to 2001 Champion Rossi, the flamboyant Italian has declined the opportunity to enter the new MotoGP category bearing the title-holder´s privilege. As expected, Rossi will continue under the synonymous 46, while Roberts moves back to the number 10 plate he rode under until he finished second in the Championship in 1999.

Max Biaggi will have the lowest numbered plate, but he has not taken the number 2 he earned last year, instead preferring to stick with the 3 he rode into runners-up place with. McCoy makes the only other change apart from Roberts, moving from 5 to 8, while the new recruits into the MotoGP category have generally stuck with their numbers from previous classes.

First-time entries to the elite class, Daijiro Katoh and John Hopkins stick with the plates they won titles with last year, 74 and 21, while those riders returning to MotoGP´s top flight, Regis Laconi (55), Tetsuya Harada(31), Nobuatsu Aoki(9) and Jeremy McWilliams(99), use the familiar numbers that have served them so well in the past.

Without a doubt, this policy of sticking with a number from season to season will help audiences and commentators alike, and should aid the smooth transition into the exciting new MotoGP category. It will certainly also help each rider market themselves better, with numbers becoming at one with their identities as riders.

The entry-list is still provisional, however, and it is expected there will be minor changes or additions prior to the season´s beginning, but the MotoGP revolution is now beginning to take shape more than ever and come April there will be millions of eyes around the world checking out the hottest category in world motorsport.

500cc, 2001

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