Provisional 2019 MotoGP Grid - 21 Riders Confirmed, Grid Almost Finalized

With the announcement that Takaaki Nakagami has signed for an extra year with the Idemitsu LCR Honda squad, the 2019 MotoGP grid is almost finalized. Nakagami's signing brings the total of confirmed riders up to 21 of the total of 22 entries.

The only rider left to be confirmed officially is Tito Rabat. The Spaniard's serious leg injury, sustained at Silverstone, has caused a delay, with his contract extension expected to have already come earlier. There is no doubt that Rabat will get the final seat, though it will probably have to wait until he is fit enough to return again.

Below is the official line up for 2019:

Team/Rider Bike Contract until
Movistar Yamaha
Valentino Rossi Yamaha M1 2020
Maverick Viñales Yamaha M1 2020
Repsol Honda
Jorge Lorenzo Honda RC213V 2020
Marc Márquez Honda RC213V 2020
Ecstar Suzuki
Alex Rins Suzuki GSX-RR 2020
Joan Mir Suzuki GSX-RR 2020
Gresini Aprilia
Aleix Espargaro Aprilia RS-GP 2020
Andrea Iannone Aprilia RS-GP 2020
KTM Factory
Johann Zarco KTM RC16 2020
Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 2020
Factory Ducati
Andrea Dovizioso Ducati GP19 2020
Danilo Petrucci Ducati GP19 2019
Satellite Teams
Pramac Ducati
Pecco Bagnaia Ducati GP18 2020
Jack Miller Ducati GP19 2019
LCR Honda
Cal Crutchlow Honda RC213V 2020
Taka Nakagami Honda RC213V 2019
Tech3 KTM
Miguel Oliveira KTM RC16 2019
Hafizh Syahrin KTM RC16 2019
Petronas SIC Team
Franco Morbidelli Yamaha M1 2019
Fabio Quartararo Yamaha M1 2019
Avintia Ducati
Tito Rabat? Ducati GP18 ?
Karel Abraham Ducati GP18 2020

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of 2 year old machinery! Hell yes. 

I will be extremely curious to see with KA17 does with a proper bike. Sure, his path into MotoGP is 'unconventional' we'll call it (and leave it at that), but he has never had a proper bike in GP. Dark-days Ducatis, and CRT bikes. People who give KA a hard time need to look back to his 2010 Moto2 campaign. He is a strong rider no matter what the size of his family's estate is. 

Tech3 always give 1 year contract with second year option. They have done this for a very long time. The reason is to allow their rider able to break the contract at the end of the year and move with factory bike. So I guess this is the same Standard Procedure for Olivera.

I agree that it seems strange to have given two of the most promising rookies in recent years single-year contracts. I'd understood that the prevailing wisdom was that two-year contracts takes the pressure off a new rider, allowing them to explore the bike, their style and progressively get quicker naturally rather than feel the enormous pressure of points-wins-prizes (aka contract extensions). Similarly to the KTM decision not to enter their test riders in any races next year; the idea being that they want consistent test runs and not a wanna-get-back-in-the-paddock balls-out race-chase. And yes, there are far too many hyphenated sentences in there but I'm in a hyphenated kind of mood. Unlike some team bosses......

2020 will be quite silly.

(Redding's new haircut is a cry for help...did you see his social media post? Oof).

I disagree about Abraham - zero excitement here. Rabat has surprised me with his up turn. I am ready for Avintia pay to play to be gone, eager for two more Suzuki bikes. And I am excited about several younger riders. Moto2 is bringing bar bashing feisty competitors. Bagnaia looks great, and the well sorted 2018 Ducati will be a gem to start on (just ask Tito about his start on that dismal 2015 Honda for a contrast).

Really enjoying our recent considerations of the Yamaha. Weight shift needed, a Lorenzo tank extension sort of "lets try getting the bike and rider biased rearward" change, and set up changes, swingarm. I think they are going to do it relatively soon. Soon enough to keep Rossi at it? I would bet through the end of this contract and on a bike that has come good again, then done.

These are the good days.

Let’s just say Yamaha doesn’t improve (and I think there are even odds on whether or not they will). Will Rossi see his next two years thru to the end, or decide to wrap it up early? I assume it’s his choice to make.

> I assume it’s his choice to make.

And Yamaha's to accept. Or be embarrasssed when their brand ambassador goes walkies. I'm pretty sure they'll jump. How high, Mr Rossi? Really quite high.

Follow the money, as they say. The money is in Yamaha sales throughout the world. Rossi is the name they need. Not many people worldwide rush out to buy a Yamaha because Maverick rides one.

Harsh, I know and I'm not knocking Maverick's riding skill, but you can't beat 14 years of solid Rossi <--> Yamaha publicity (with a small Duke hiccup in the middle we can gloss over). There's probably a significant percentage of race goers that don't realise he's ridden any other brand. Not informed Motomatters readers, of course!

The 2019 Yamaha will be much better than the 2017-2018. Weight bias will shift rearward to accomodate Michelins. Engine character will offer more manageable power delivery and ask less of electronics. Electronics will have a further development, they have more and better staff at it as we speak.

How much better relative to Honda and Duc? Dunno.
Engine will be better right away. Betting they have that already figured.
How quickly will electronics and weight redistribution happen? Dunno but betting in the earlier parts of next season, not late.
How patient will Rossi be? I bet he does his full contract with an improving bike, doing pretty well and having some fun.

P.S. poor Quartararo is going to be on the 2018 Yamaha rolled right over Tech3 style eh? Not so good. They could do a mild hybrid update to a few things outlined above. And won't?

Interested in KTM and Aprilia, we may see some competition and rivalries within and between their garages. Expecting a growth spurt from KTM. Not Aprilia.

people seem to think that because they are Yamaha, that they have good recent history, that it is only a matter of time before they turn the corner.  But Williams, McLaren and other past champions in F1, now faded into obscurity, are proof that just because they have the will does not mean they have the way.  

Think back to the latter years of 2T when the YZR was dominated by the NSR, and even the RGV.  Then their initial 4T offering was pretty ordinary for a couple of years, until a complete redesign set it on it's current trajectory.  From Rainey in '92 they had to wait until Rossi in 2004 for another Yamaha championship win.

Realistically Honda and Ducati are pushing each other to new heights.  Yamaha are a year behind (performance-wise) so to match where Honda and Ducati will be next year they need to find 2 years worth of performance improvements in the off season....a big ask considering they don't seem to have a clear direction at the moment.