The 2019 MotoGP season explodes into action this weekend with the VisitQatar Grand Prix opening a new FIM world championship for the 13th year in a row. While the novel Sunday evening show under floodlights (pushed to an earlier slot of 17.00 GMT to avoid the sudden and problematic shifts of temperature and humidity at the Losail International Circuit) often bathes MotoGP in a dramatic illumination of vivid shine and colour, there is another hot narrative brewing.
The end of the 2018 season saw the departures of Bradley Smith and Scott Redding (leaving the British ‘end’ somewhat light), along with Alvaro Bautista and Dani Pedrosa with a total of 33 years of MotoGP racing between them.
2019 sees a debut in the premier MotoGp class for the likes of Grand Prix winners and world champions Joan Mir (Spanish), Fabio Quartararo (French) and Miguel Oliveira (Portugal’s first MotoGP representative) not to mention arguably the most exciting of the bunch: Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia.
All four former Moto2 graduates join names like Franco Morbidelli (the 2017 Moto2 champ now into his second MotoGP year) and Hafizh Syahrin (the Malaysian also in his second term). In short, almost a quarter of the grid bring a youthful and fairly inexperienced zest to the championship.