As we inch closer to the official start of the MotoGP season at Sepang, where the first test of the year is set to be held from 6th-8th of February, we enter the season of team and factory launches. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, all of the MotoGP teams and factories will present their 2019 color schemes and riders at a series of events.
Ducati is the first to present its plans, as is the tradition. On Friday, 18th January, the Italian factory will present the MotoGP team of Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci at an event in Neuchatel, Switzerland. The location - the Phillip Morris R&D Cube in Neuchatel - has been chosen as a reflection of Ducati's partnership with Phillip Morris, and the tobacco giant's move to promote its electronic smoking device. Whether that will also translate to iQOS branding on the fairings remain to be seen: tobacco advertising and sponsorship remains banned throughout most of world, and especially in the key markets where MotoGP races.
The launch is to start at 6pm CET on Friday, 18th January. It will be streamed live on the MotoGP.com website.
Repsol Honda is next, presenting their brand new line up of Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo at Repsol's main Campus in Madrid on 23rd January. It will be the first time that Lorenzo will be able to speak freely and publicly about his switch to Honda, though he is more likely to speak openly to journalists afterwards, rather than during the public presentation.
The Repsol Honda launch is on 23rd January in Madrid, and starts at 10:30am CET. That event will also be streamed live on the MotoGP.com website.
MotoMatters.com will be attending both the Repsol Honda and the Factory Ducati launch.
A week after the Repsol Honda launch, the Sepang Racing Team will launch their full racing program in Kuala Lumpur. The SRT will present their MotoGP, Moto2, and Moto3 teams at the Petronas towers on the 28th January, at 8:30am CET. Three days later, on 31st January, the Suzuki Ecstar team will launch their 2019 MotoGP effort. And on 4th February, the factory Yamaha - now Monster Yamaha - team will launch their 2019 campaign at a special event in Jakarta, Indonesia. A day later, Yamaha will present its international racing program at the Sepang Circuit, with the Monster Yamaha MotoGP team being joined by the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK team of Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark.
KTM will wait until after the Sepang test to make their presentation. The Austrian factory will launch their MotoGP effort - both the Red Bull factory team and the Tech3 satellite squad - at an event in Mattighofen, Austria, on Tuesday 12th February.