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It’s that time of year again when the countdown to Qatar and the first race of the year becomes less a number and more a reality – so let’s take a look through the 2017 contenders this season in the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship.
Repsol Honda Team
Reigning MotoGP™ World Champion Marc Marquez and three-time World Champion Dani Pedrosa headline for Repsol Honda once again in 2017 – with the number 93 on the hunt to defend his crown, and the number 26 sure to be a key rival – close to home.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
Nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi is joined at Movistar Yamaha by Maverick Viñales in 2017. The former Moto3™ World Champion won his first premier class race last season and topped pre-season testing in Valencia and at Sepang.
After nine years in blue, three-time MotoGP™ World Champion Jorge Lorenzo sees red in 2017 as he moves to the Ducati Team. Partnering longtime Borgo Panigale rider Andrea Dovizioso, the ‘Spartan’ is one of the talking points of the year – and after a challenging few years, the Italian factory got back on top twice in 2016, ready to challenge at the top in 2017.
Team Suzuki Ecstar
It’s all change for the Hamamatsu factory as 2016 Austrian GP winner Andrea Iannone spearheads the Suzuki campaign in 2017 – joined by former Moto2™ and Moto3™ title contender Alex Rins as the Spaniard makes the leap up from Moto2™.
Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
A new line-up of MotoGP™ podium finisher Aleix Espargaro and Moto2™ race winner Sam Lowes heads up the Noale factory’s challenge in 2017, after a second year in the premier class that saw Aprilia make some big leaps forward.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
The new kids on the block field Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith this season as the two go from newcomers to full-factory headliners. Espargaro, Moto2™ World Champion in 2013, joins Smith, MotoGP™ podium finisher, as the two former Suzuka 8H winners take on the challenge of taking KTM to the top.
Cal Crutchlow remains with the LCR squad this season, after taking his two first stunning MotoGP™ wins in 2016 – and finishing the season Top Independent rider.
Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS
2016 Dutch GP winner Jack Miller and 2014 Moto2™ World Champion Tito Rabat remain on board with EG0,0 Marc VDS in 2017. After a first win for both Miller and the newer premier-class effort of the Moto2™ title-challenging squad in 2016, all eyes are forward as the new season gets into gear.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Reigning and two-time Moto2™ World Champion Johann Zarco moves up to MotoGP™ this season with Tech 3 – to be joined by former intermediate class rival and race winner Jonas Folger. With both getting to grips with premier class life quickly in pre-season testing, the rivalry is sure to gain traction throughout their first season in MotoGP™.
Reale Esponsorama Racing
New name, same faces. Hector Barbera and Loris Baz stay with the team in 2017 after some top five finishes and impressive performances, looking to take another step forward with a Ducati GP16 and GP15 respectively.
Octo Pramac Racing
MotoGP™ podium finishers Danilo Petrucci and Scott Redding spearhead the Pramac campaign once again this season, with Petrucci on a GP17 Ducati and Redding on a GP16 as they look to fight at the front and get more impressive points finishes.
Pull&Bear Aspar Team
Former 125 World Champion Alvaro Bautista moves to Aspar in 2017 to partner Karel Abraham on the Czech rider’s return from WorldSBK. After topping some timesheets at the Sepang test and getting to grips with life on the GP16 Ducati, Baustista is looking to aim for the podium – with previous form in the premier class.