Last year's Moto2 championship was a case of when, not if, Johann Zarco won his first major championship. The Frenchman, aided by his black Ajo number five bike, had the measure of the field for most of the year, claiming the title with three races to spare after Tito Rabat had to withdraw from the Japanese Grand Prix.
It shouldn't be that easy for him this year though, with a few rider switches to better bikes, and some incoming talent too, meaning that we should have a decent challenge for the intermediate class this year.
A Brief Refresher
For those not familiar with Moto2, there's limits on what the bikes can have. The biggest is the engine - all engines are 600cc four-stroke engines supplied by Honda. Tyres are supplied by Dunlop, and ECUs are only allowed by FIM-approved suppliers with a 650 Euros spending cap. Brakes must be steel - carbon fibre brakes are not allowed.
Chassis, however, are fair game. Do what you want with them. That's where the difference in teams lie. There are a few different chassis suppliers, with the majority of the field using the tried and tested Kalex.
The champion awaits
Johann Zarco was fantastic last year. There's no two ways about it, with eight wins and an eventual winning margin of 118 points, there's no way you can deny him that. It was his best season by a long way, with his last win before 2015 coming in the 2011 125cc championship. The pressure will be on the Frenchman though, as he proves 2015 wasn't a flash in the pan.
The likely challengers
Sam Lowes is a ridiculously good rider who spent last season stuck on a pretty dire Speed Up bike. He moves to the Gresini team, with a Kalex chassis, for 2016, and has designs on the title. There were rumours last year he would be on the Aprilia bike in MotoGP with the same team, but that may be something to look for next year.
Alex Rins ended last year's championship second, after an incredible first year in the championship. He stays with the Paginas Amarillas HP40 team this year, and on paper probably looks like the closest rival to Zarco.
Franco Morbidelli will also be worth a watch this year, taking Tito Rabat's place on the Estrella Galicia Marc VDS.
With so many new faces joining the roster this year, it's probably just best if I list everybody and then pick up a few notable additions at the end.
|Stop And Go
|Johann Zarco (C)
|Idemitsu Team Asia
|Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS
|Federal Oil Gresini
|Tasca Racing Scuderia
|Páginas Amarillas HP40
The most notable addition is the reigning Moto3 champion Danny Kent. After he was offered a deal by Pramac Ducati to ride in MotoGP, Leopard were able to convince him to spearhead their assault on Moto2. He is joined by one of his main rivals in Miguel Oliveira, while his team mate from last year, Efrén Vásquez, takes a ride on the JPMoto Suter bike. Isaac Viñales also makes the move up on the Tech 3 bike, after being in and out of jobs all last year.
Also notable is the incoming of Luca Marini, the half-brother of Valentino Rossi. Is he any good? We'll see.
Make sure to join us every race weekend for full Moto2 coverage, starting this weekend with the Qatar GP.