His team-mate is in a totally different situation, though. Pedrosa has been fighting for the top positions in MotoGP for twelve years and he is very consistent, having won races in every season he spent in the top category. However, his contract ends this season, and the new kids on the block may give Honda a hard time making a decision between going for experience and new blood. Rumours are that the likes of Zarco, Morbidelli or Joan Mir could replace the 32-year old Spaniard.
Rossi is another rider whose contract ends this year, but still, he said he will probably race for the next two years. Yamaha seems to be in the same wave length as they expect Rossi to sign a new contract. Performance-wise, for the last few years, the charismatic Italian rider has been proving he is not too old to be fighting for podiums and wins.
However, is he capable of fighting for his long-sought 10th World Championship? It is definitely a huge challenge especially considering the amount of talent spread around the paddock this season. But, never say never in MotoGP.
Then we have Johann Zarco, who was rookie of the year last season, having achieved three podiums. Will he be fighting for victories this season, or can he take it to the next level and fight for the title as well? His handicap is that he has an older bike, but that did not stop him from mixing it up fearlessly with the big sharks.
Regarding Jorge Lorenzo, he has in 2018 the chance to prove he made the right gamble changing from Yamaha and he can be a great rider with two different bikes. Last season – his first in a Ducati – he was able to lead some laps and get some podiums as well. The same questions of Zarco apply to the Spanish rider: will he be able to turn these podiums into victories? And if so, can he get a shot at the title?
This list of questions could go on with the impact of the dashboard messages and the performances of the rookies who came from Moto2, still, the issues mentioned before seem to be more appealing to discuss, at least in this initial stage.
All in all, there are many questions to be answered and many decisions to be made in this year. Furthermore, the fans are eager to watch the fierce battles on the tracks again. Without further ado, let’s sit back and enjoy the first race.
Read the first part here