9. Can Lorenzo Defend His Title?

Jorge Lorenzo

Jorge Lorenzo benefitted from metronomic consistency last year, including six wins and 10 second-place finishes, to fetch himself the world championship after holding off a strong run late in the season by Dani Pedrosa. His pace during preseason practice with race simulations has been extremely impressive as well, lapping near record pace, often with his fastest and slowest circuits varying by less than a second over a 20-lap run.

He’ll need to maintain this fast pace, as the Hondas appear to be the stronger motorcycle, at least on paper. Interestingly, the bad blood between Lorenzo and Rossi in years past appears to be over, as no wall will be erected between the two riders’ pit stalls this year, and the two, at least in public, are getting along just fine. Does Lorenzo not see Rossi as a threat?