The Moto2 World Championship will use Honda CBR600 engines for the final time this year. Honda has powered Moto2 since its creation in 2010. By the end of this season, Honda’s Moto2 engines will have covered more than three million kilometres since the first race at Losail in April 2010. During this time the series has allowed teams to compete at a reduced cost and helped forge a new generation of MotoGP riders. Sixteen of this year’s 24 MotoGP riders have ridden in Moto2, with the championship’s strict technical regulations helping them showcase their talent.
Morbidelli, Luthi and Nakagami won 11 of last year’s 18 Moto2 rounds, so there’s no doubt that the class will anoint another new generation of winners during 2018. Arguably, there are three main championship favourites: Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM), Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) and Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex).
Twenty-three-year-old Portuguese star Oliveira won the last three races of 2017, so if he can continue that form into the new season he could be the man to beat. The younger Marquez brother won his first three Moto2 races last year and was in the title hunt until he suffered a midseason injury. Bagnaia was Moto2’s top rookie of 2017 and will almost certainly be a stronger presence this season. His talent has already won him a MotoGP ride in 2019, with an independent Ducati team.
There will also be a lot of interest in rookie Joan Mir (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex), who graduates to Moto2 after dominating last year’s Moto3 World Championship, with ten victories from 18 races. Also likely to figure strongly will be Hector Barbera (Pons HP40 Kalex) and Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors KTM) who both drop back into the intermediate class from MotoGP. Other contenders include Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM), rookie Romano Fenati (Marinelli Snipers Team Kalex) and veteran Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex), winner of last year’s Mugello race.
The season-opening Moto2 race at Losail will also make history – the 20-lap event gets under way at 5.20pm, 20 minutes before sunset, so this race will be the first Grand Prix to take place beneath a setting sun.