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The 2019 MotoGP™ World Championship starts in less than a week with the post-GP Official Valencia Tests and with it comes new technical innovations, with each team continuing the development of their respective prototype machines as every tenth of a second becomes more and more important.
One technological change that is being introduced is around the standardisation of the inertial platform (or IMU), as we saw with the Electronics (ECU) in 2016. The IMU talks with the ECU, telling the computer the lean angle of the bike, among other things. But it’s not just a sensor, it also computes data and for this reason, the FIM and the Director of Technology for MotoGP™ have decided that the IMU will be unified for all the teams. The aim? To bring the already competitive field closer together.
Talking of that competitive field, the premier class grid gets an exciting shake-up for 2019. As well as welcoming four seriously fast rookies – Francesco Bagnaia (Alma Pramac Racing), Miguel Oliveira (Tech 3 Racing KTM), Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SIC) - to the MotoGP™ class, other rider movements and bike changes are aplenty. And we also have two new teams joining:
How will the MotoGP™ rookies rise to the challenge in 2019?
The Sepang International Circuit team (SIC) - who previously only took part in Moto2™ and Moto3™ - take over as the official Yamaha Independent Team, filling the void left by the departing Tech 3 squad. One of their riders will be 2017 Moto2™ World Champion Franco Morbidelli, who will have a ‘Spec–A’ machine at his disposal and one closely aligned to Factory riders Valentino Rossi and teammate Maverick Viñales. Rookie Quartararo will be on a ‘Spec-B’ machine.
Presenting the Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team
After 20 years working with Yamaha, the aforementioned Tech 3 team will take on a new challenge with two full factory KTM machines. This means the Austrian factory will have four bikes on the premier class grid for 2019, with rookie Oliveira and current Tech 3 rider Hafizh Syahrin on board RC16s next season. The Red Bull KTM Factory team will see current rider Pol Espargaro be joined by Johann Zarco – an intriguing prospect to say the least.
20-year partnership: Poncharal on two decades with Yamaha
But what else – machine wise – is changing? Well, Honda are losing to bikes from the grid as the EG 0,0 Marc VDS vacate the MotoGP™ class. This means there are two less bikes on the grid for 2019, so how many bikes do each manufacturer have in 2019 and what teams are on what bikes?
Don’t forget, you can watch the first 2019 test take place in under a weeks’ time to get a first taste of how competitive next year is going to be. Watch it all live on motogp.com on Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st of November.
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