controversy as they are considered to pose a certain risk in
case of an accident. Dorna responded by banning winglets in
Moto2 and Moto3, but didn’t follow suit in the queen class –
probably because of the rule freeze that was part of the MSMA
The 2016 MotoGP Season starts with a number of unknown
variables that could unpredictably take center stage at any
given point. Add to these the fact that almost all the main
riders’ contracts end this year, so a lot of interest will inevitably
deviate from racing itself to who’s going where. As yet the only
confirmed rider is Valentino Rossi who just inked a two-year
extension to his Yamaha contract. With Lorenzo rumored to
have in his hands an astronomical offer from Ducati – next to
an extension offer from Yamaha – things are looking very
intriguing. And we still haven’t heard from Honda.
Now let’s take a look at the manufacturers and their weapons
of choice for this year.
There is no question that Yamaha has the best motorcycles on
the MotoGP grid at this time. Its two factory riders, Jorge
Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, monopolized the 2015
championship, culminating in a dramatic decider at the very
last race in Valencia.
For 2016 both riders are expected to be among the main title
contenders, but their fragile relation is also an important factor
in this year’s equation, especially when the matter comes to
The YZR-M1 is powered by an in-line four cylinder motor with
crossplane crankshaft, housed in an aluminum deltabox frame,
and coupled with Brembo brakes and Ohlins suspension.
Yamaha also came up with its own version of a seamless gear
box, which debuted last year and immediately was deemed
effective by the team’s riders.
The M1’s main advantage is maneuverability, showing its best
face in corner entry and exit. It is no surprise that the best
satellite team of the championship is consistently Monster
Yamaha Tech 3, with its two very talented young riders Bradley
Smith and Pol Espargaro.
During recent years the M1 was losing in terms of absolute
power to Ducati and Honda, as both factory Yamaha bikes
faced a considerable gap in top speed. Apparently it didn’t
keep them from dominating the 2015 championship, while the
new rule allowing for 22 liters of fuel should help make up for
lost ground – Yamaha was running a 20-liter tank last year.
In 2013 and 2014 Honda’s RC213V was the motorcycle to
have, with the new star rider Marc Marquez breaking every
record that involved the words “younger” and “rookie” on the
way to two consecutive world titles.
Problems started surfacing early last year, with Marquez falling
in several races. As it turned out, Honda’s updates on the RCV
engine and a new frame made the bike too nervous. Marquez
can perform miracles under any circumstances on a qualifying
run, but to his own admittance keeping up with the Yamahas
over race distance meant riding constantly on the limit and
taking too many risks – evidently explaining why he dropped
out of six races in 2015. As the rules do not allow
manufacturers to further develop their engines throughout the
year, Honda had no other option than to look to the frame,
suspensions and electronics for a solution.
This year seems to start like a repetition of 2015. Marquez can
still deliver outstanding results, but insists that his bike is