2018 MotoGP Rider Line Up So Far - July 2017 Edition

With one or two contracts signed over the past couple of weeks, it's time to update what we know of the 2018 MotoGP rider line up. A single question mark behind the name of a rider indicates a very strong rumor. Three question marks indicates a complete unknown.

Teams/Riders Bike Contract ends
Factory Teams
Movistar Yamaha
Valentino Rossi Yamaha M1 2018
Maverick Viñales Yamaha M1 2018
Repsol Honda
Dani Pedrosa Honda RC213V 2018
Marc Márquez Honda RC213V 2018
Ecstar Suzuki
Andrea Iannone1 Suzuki GSX-RR 2018
Alex Rins Suzuki GSX-RR 2018
Gresini Aprilia
Sam Lowes2 Aprilia RS-GP 2018
Aleix Espargaro Aprilia RS-GP 2018
KTM Factory
Bradley Smith KTM RC16 2018
Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 2018
Factory Ducati
Jorge Lorenzo Ducati GP18 2018
Andrea Dovizioso Ducati GP18 2018
Satellite Teams
Pramac Ducati
Danilo Petrucci Ducati GP18 2018
Jack Miller? Ducati GP17 ???
LCR Honda
Cal Crutchlow Honda RC213V 2019
Taka Nakagami/Tom Luthi? Honda RC213V ???
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha
Jonas Folger Yamaha M1 2018
Johann Zarco Yamaha M1 2018
Marc VDS Honda
Franco Morbidelli Honda RC213V 2019
??? Honda RC213V ???
Aspar Ducati3
Alvaro Bautista Ducati GP17 2018
??? Ducati GP16/GP17? ???
Avintia Ducati3
??? Ducati GP17 ???
??? Ducati GP16/GP17? ???

1. Suzuki looks likely to keep Andrea Iannone for 2018, despite reports of a poor atmosphere in the team
2. Aprilia will probably keep Sam Lowes, despite disappointment with his results. Some in management want to give him a chance to prove himself, and wait until 2019, when a lot of riders, including all of the top riders, will be out of contract.
3. Both Avintia and Aspar will have at least one Ducati GP17 at their disposal, with the option of a second one, if they can sign a competitive enough rider.


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I like that Ducati is willing to provide a second GP 17 if Avintia and Aspar can sign a strong enough rider. It demonstrates that the company is dead serious about MotoGP. Meanwhile, they are doing great things in their showrooms as well! The company seems to have made a big step forward under Audi. It's a shame that they have been put up for sale.

Great To See:
Petrucci - Pramac team - Ducati coming so very good.
Dovisioso - Factory Duc rising slow and sure.
The Gigi Duc can turn in and has more feel. Drive out no longer pumps and electronics are doing GREAT there along w rideability. Aero went from riches to rags, expect a boost there soon grabbing some 10ths.
Miller may sort well with that loose aggressive bike. But we say this often of riders headed Red.

Not so great?

Lorenzo/Duc 99 ham sham. The first session at Valencia testing stole some hope from an otherwise shite pairing. At least it is Lorenzo, so we don't have to feel to badly about it. Enough has been said.

8...eight...EIGHT aging Ducati bikes filling the grid. Yes, we are still transitioning from CRT and there is change afoot, and yes it is the best bang for the buck for customer teams, but it is not so great.

Question...can someone remind what the plan is for Karel Abraham and his father's AB Cardion team vs. staying w Aspar? Off to WSBK is it?

Suzuki. There is still time, but I am concerned with the current situation there. Iannone is taking advantage of the good nature/"laid back family team"/Suzuki as humble underdog culture by responding in the worst of ways. Entitled petulant primadonna. You are no Rossi. Your style is for an odd Ducati formula. Iannone and the Team look to be playing a (hopefully brief) game of "if you want out, it will cost you." It is costing them both dearly and I hope Iannone returns to his better self soon. That is a surprisingly good bike already!

No major sponsor. No satellite team. Is Suzuki just lacking passion and drive? Are they short sighted? KTM exhibits more spirit. Aprilia is coming. You lost Vinales. You didn't capitalize last year and secure more sponsorship. Nor secure Marc VDS as a GEM of a satellite team with all they have to offer your project. I am concerned. Maybe you need energy drink gusto. And $.

Great to see:

LCR adding a 2nd bike into a great squad. Crutchlow getting on well. With a Honda that is getting back from the brink of becoming the new career killing gravel trap devil.

Not so great?

"Fastest Japanese rider gets a ride" bringing Nakagami when he isn't the best rider available. It has always bugged me. Merit over passport please! Luthi.

Great? Gresini team becoming Factory, bringing much to the table for Aprilia. That is surging. A.Espargaro getting that bike going quickly, quickly. Smart perhaps and interesting for Aprilia to stick w a (slow!) Lowes for a year and focus on smoothly moving forward with (Pedrosa?!) for 2019. Do you sense good things for this project and the near future? I do! Suzuki? Not sure and pensive.

Tech 3 - the satellite Yamaha - Zarco and Folger. Good for you Herve, you deserve it. And good for us too! Any readers from France? Are you fired up?

Rossi yet again adapting and finding more. Remember concern re watching him sour? We needn't. Beautiful.

Beautista making gains again. Not so great? He sure takes out lots of other riders when he is off, eh? But solid fit he and satellite Duc.

I am aware that I am getting harsher and less patient with slower new riders. Maybe I am getting a tad bitter with age. But wouldn't you rather see more turnover towards the rear in order to churn up another Zarco? Aren't you curious about Morbidelli on an improving Honda than nearly everyone behind mid pack on a Ducati or Honda? I have seen enough to think so re a good handful of them. Even that rider from your country. I am in the USA, so cry me a river. We really don't have ANYTHING to feel good about at all, this place has gone to shite.

There has been SO much change in the MotoGP series lately, it seems that what years ago we might have labeled naive hope about the grass being greener for young potentials is more realistic. We have a couple young guys that look considerably better than the Miller jump eh? The Italians are back thank you very much. Great Britain is back.

Is it a bit strange to be focusing on 2019 some already? I very much look forward to seeing who lands where. With hope for all the Manu's and teams. This is really exciting again.

Great to see: neither Vinales/Yamaha nor Marquez/Honda run off with the title. Close exciting varied races. Did we just stop calling a few circuits a Honda track or Yamaha track? Do we have a Ducati track or two? While they aren't yet at the pointy end, "Aprilia and Suzuki go well here" is real.

Michelin is doing just fine thank you. It is much more fun to watch! More like "real bikes" again.

Yup we're there and yes we're enjoying a lot to have such a good rider in MotoGP. We're not used to that to be honest ;) . And Johann is someone "likeable" in my opinion. fast , discrete with good attitude and behavior, not much bling to laugh at and a great riding Style.  We're all hoping great results for him in the future. We would be so so proud to see a frenchman compete with the best riders in a sport so dominated by Italians and Spaniards those last years.

It's not to say we're no liking other riders though. ;)

. . . have covered themselves with glory this year.  The 2016 Yamaha M1 must be credited for a small part of their success - after all, those very bikes they're riding took 2nd and 3rd places in the 2016 championship.

So, will Zarco and Folger still be super-stars in 2018 riding the 2017 Yamaha M1?

As Nick Harris often says, "We're about to find out."


If leased, Tech3 may well have to return the current stable at season's end. 

Thanks for the updates David :)

Even though it's like stirring a bowl of 'alphabet' soup. Who fits where is an unknown, until we have signed contracts. We rely on you reading between the lines. Are you worried right now?

'Motoshrink' seems to be reading between your lines here. Good points from all :)