Here are your major contending teams and riders heading into the 2009 season.
|Fiat Yamaha||Valentino Rossi||Jorge Lorenzo|
|Ducati Marlboro||Casey Stoner||Nicky Hayden|
|Repsol Honda||Dani Pedrosa||Andrea Dovizioso|
|Rizla Suzuki||Chris Vermeulen||Loris Capirossi|
|Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Colin Edwards||James Toseland|
Stoner and Pedrosa are starting the season less than 100% healthy, with Stoner still recovering from offseason surgery on his wrist and Pedrosa having had surgery after a high side – go figure –while testing at Qatar on March 2. The Suzuki riders finished the pre-season testing session at Jerez in 3rd and 5th places, suggesting they may be more competitive at the start of this season. Dovizioso figures to benefit from the switch to the factory Honda team, and Nicky Hayden, at least in my opinion, will be running with the big dogs before the season is over on his shiny new Ducati.
"I know you don't like it, Jorge, but trust me, the wall is a good thing!"
Colin Edwards seemed to enjoy beating teammate James Toseland in the pre-season tests.
One of the amusing aspects to these big high-powered two-rider teams is the fact that the “teammates” don’t always get along so well. Apparently Rossi and Lorenzo don’t see eye to eye on everything. Such also seems to be the case with Edwards and Toseland. How, you’re wondering, do we know this? BECAUSE THE CREWS HAVE TO BUILD WALLS IN THE GARAGES TO KEEP THEM APART. Despite the fact that these riders have testicles the size of hubcaps, they’ve got “little man” complexes and the aggressiveness of rat terriers. Why don’t they just do what they do in sitcoms: draw a line down the middle of the room and let hilarity ensue?
Rossi is the odds-on favorite to repeat this season, edging out Stoner on the surprising number of online betting sites devoted to MotoGP. It’s difficult to bet against him, as he is smooth as silk and rarely makes even the smallest mistake. Stoner is going to have to have a perfect season to beat him out. We’ll see if it’ll be similar to last season, with the Stoner owning the straightaways, and Rossi ruling the corners.
Last year at Qatar, the top five finishers were Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa on the podium, followed by Dovizioso and Rossi. Look for Rossi, Stoner and Lorenzo up there this year, with Vermeulen, Dovizioso and Edwards trailing. Pedrosa is apparently going to start, but whether he can finish remains to be seen.