2018 MotoGP Rider Line Up, Late August - Three Seats Left To Fill

With Taka Nakagami and Karel Abraham signing contracts for 2018 over the weekend, and another announcement due at Silverstone, we can update the 2018 MotoGP rider line up. Just three seats remain open: the second seat at Marc VDS Honda, and both seats at Avintia Ducati. A single question mark behind the name of a rider indicates a very strong rumor. An asterisk indicates an alternative rumor for a signed contract.

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 Iannone Suzuki GSX-RR 2018
Alex Rins Suzuki GSX-RR 2018
Gresini Aprilia
Scott Redding Aprilia RS-GP 2018
Aleix Espargaro Aprilia RS-GP 2018
KTM Factory
Bradley Smith*1 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 2018
LCR Honda
Cal Crutchlow Honda RC213V 2019
Taka Nakagami Honda RC213V 2018
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha
Jonas Folger Yamaha M1 2018
Johann Zarco Yamaha M1 2018
Marc VDS Honda2
Franco Morbidelli Honda RC213V 2019
? Honda RC213V ???
Aspar Ducati
Alvaro Bautista Ducati GP17 2018
Karel Abraham Ducati GP16 2018
Avintia Ducati3
Tito Rabat? Ducati GP17? ???
Xavier Simeon? Ducati GP16? ???

1. There were reports from Austria that KTM is losing patience with Bradley Smith, and that they may swap his role with Mika Kallio, promoting Kallio to the MotoGP team and making Smith the test rider.
2. Marc VDS are expected to make an announcement about a second rider at Silverstone. The official word from the team is that it will almost certainly be "a rider with MotoGP experience". Current favorites are Sam Lowes and Stefan Bradl.
3. Avintia will probably have one Ducati GP17 at their disposal, with the option of a second one, if they can sign a competitive enough rider. Both Tito Rabat and Xavier Simeon are strongly rumored to be close to a deal at Avintia, both riders bringing substantial funding with them.


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How is Rabat still in the top class? He must be bringing funds to the team. He has not gelled with the big bikes at all.
Bradley on the other hand seems to not get along with the KTM. The Tech3 Yamaha suited him and he got results. I must say that I am on the fence if he and Kalio switch positions. Kalio, IMO, should have gotten another shot on a GP bike and I would be glad to see him make a return.

With that said.... could Brad get on another bike? A Ducati or a Honda before being sent to testing duties?
I would like to see what he could do on a bike other than the KTM

I understand that there is more than just rider ability that goes into selection, especially with the satellite teams but I'm pretty gutted that neither Baz nor Barbera look like they're going to be retained. Sure, Hector has had a tough time adapting to the upgraded bike but he's shown he's proper fast when he gets tuned in and Loris has had three top tens and looked really good. 

Is it really all down to money? (I think that may be a rhetorical question)

Looks like Luthi is the favourite for the Marc VDS seat.

He's old, but he brings around 500,000 in sponsorship, so he's hot.

Great to see Tom finally get a break, but at 31 years-old he's just a budget filler before Marquez Junior makes the grade.