Full 2018 MotoGP entry list announced, plus Moto2 and Moto3 moves
|By Jamie Klein||Thursday, November 9th 2017, 10:43 GMT|
The FIM, grand prix motorcycling's governing body, has issued a 24-bike entry list for the 2018 MotoGP season.
The entry list does not confirm any new riders, with all 24 seats having been already filled, but it does clarify the rider numbers and official entrant names that will be used next year.
Four rookies - Xavier Simeon, Thomas Luthi, Franco Morbidelli and Takaaki Nakagami - arrive in the premier class next year, forming MotoGP's largest newcomer group since the 2015 season.
The grid size increase from this year comes courtesy of an extra bike for the LCR squad, which for the last two seasons has run a sole Honda for Cal Crutchlow but has now added Nakagami to its line-up.
Nakagami and Crutchlow will ride with title sponsorship from Idemitsu and Castrol and respectively.
While Luthi, Morbidelli and Nakagami will all use their rider numbers from Moto2, Simeon will use #10, as his usual #19 is already in use by Aspar rider Alvaro Bautista.
Of this year's grid, Avintia Ducati pair Loris Baz and Hector Barbera and Aprilia's Sam Lowes are absent from the 2018 entry list.
Barbera and Lowes will both step down to Moto2, with the Pons and Interwetten squads respectively, while Baz returns to the World Superbike championship after signing a deal with Althea BMW.
A total of 10 nationalities are represented on the 2018 grid, an increase of three from this year.
MotoGP 2018 entry list
|Tech3 Yamaha||Johann Zarco||5|
|Tech3 Yamaha||Jonas Folger||94|
|Pramac Ducati||Danilo Petrucci||9|
|Pramac Ducati||Jack Miller||43|
|Aspar Ducati||Karel Abraham||17|
|Aspar Ducati||Alvaro Bautista||19|
|LCR Honda||Takaaki Nakagami||30|
|LCR Honda||Cal Crutchlow||35|
|Marc VDS Honda||Thomas Luthi||12|
|Marc VDS Honda||Franco Morbidelli||21|
|Avintia Ducati||Tito Rabat||53|
|Avintia Ducati||Xavier Simeon||10|
Moto3-to-Moto2 graduates headline support class moves
In addition to MotoGP, the FIM has also issued the complete 2018 entry lists for support classes Moto2 and Moto3.
The Moto2 grid is made up of 33 bikes across six different manufacturers, with dominant brand Kalex joined by Suter, KTM, Tech3, Speed Up and newcomer NTS.
KTM, which has won the last two races with factory Ajo rider Miguel Oliveira, has upped its presence to six bikes next year, supplying Lowes' Interwetten team and the Kiefer Racing squad.
Lowes will be one of two British riders on the grid along with Speed Up rider Danny Kent. Tarran Mackenzie has lost his Kiefer Racing ride to 2012 Moto3 champion Sandro Cortese.
Four riders step up from Moto3 to join next year's Moto2 ranks: champion Joan Mir, runner-up Romano Fenati, French midfielder Jules Danilo and Dutch teenager Bo Bendsneyder - the 2015 Red Bull Rookies Cup champion and a podium finisher in Moto3.
That leaves Jorge Martin, Fabio di Giannantonio, Enea Bastianini and Aron Canet as the leading Moto3 riders staying on for 2018.
John McPhee will again be the sole Brit on the grid, switching to the CIP KTM team after a year aboard a Honda run by the Dorna-backed British Talent Team.
The 28-strong Moto3 grid is split almost evenly between Honda and KTM, with Mahindra quitting the class to focus on Formula E.