They say knowledge is power but as Moto2™ gear up for 2019, there are many unknowns that await them. They aren't racing in the dark though, so to speak, and from development to testing the stage is now set as the intermediate class prepare to go racing powered by British marque Triumph.
What we, and they, already know is that the timesheets in testing have been tantalisingly close and the field are more than ready for the new challenge. And despite the biggest change to the class since inception, there are some things that seem to have remained the same: the pace of the likes of Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), as well as fellow bastions of experience Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) and Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP). And what of Schrötter's teammate Tom Lüthi? He, like Lowes the year before, returns from MotoGP™ with a point to prove – and a long rap sheet of intermediate class success.
Alongside the experienced runners this season, however, there are also host of superstar rookies. Reigning Moto3™ Champion Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Fabio Di Giannantonio (+Ego Speed Up), Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech3), teammate Philipp Öttl, Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) move up from the lightweight class, and they're joined by Brit Jake Dixon (Angel Nieto Team) and Idemitsu Honda Team Asia duo Dimas Ekky Pratama and former Asia Talent Cup rider Somkiat Chantra as nearly a third of the field race for the title of Rookie of the Year. There's also the debut of the new MV Agusta in the hands of Dominique Aegerter (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward Racing) and Stenfano Manzi, bringing the chassis count to up to five alongside Kalex, KTM, NTS and Speed Up.
In testing it's never been closer – now all that remains to be seen is the contest on race day. In Qatar at least it was Lowes who held firm at the top, and the British rider seems more than #OnIt as we head back to Losail to race. But timesheets rarely tell the tale of a race weekend entirely, so who's going to strike first?
Tune in to see a little history made and a new era begin on Sunday 10th March as Moto2™ go racing at 17:20 (GMT+3) in Qatar. Last year says Baldassarri could hold an advantage at Losail, but this season remains unwritten as yet.