Stoner To Run #1 Plate, Vermeulen To Take #7 Sheene Tribute Plate in 2008

The FIM today unveiled the provisional entry list for the 2008 MotoGP season (PDF document), revealing a couple of important changes in the numbers riders will be running next season. The most important of these is of course the number to be carried by the world champion. Like Nicky Hayden before him, Casey Stoner's bike will bear the number 1 plate. This will please Dorna and the FIM, as it's much easier to explain to newcomers to the sport who the champion is when the champion is riding around with a great big number 1 on his motorcycle. Although Dorna and the FIM were delighted with Valentino Rossi's popularity as a champion, they always regretted the fact that Rossi never elected to run the #1 on his bike, preferring to stick with #46, his lucky number.

The other major, if unsurprising, change is Chris Vermeulen. Vermeulen has made no secret of wanting to run the number 7, in tribute to the late, great Barry Sheene, Vermeulen's hero and mentor. Unfortunately for the Australian, he has never had a chance to use #7, as in ever series he's been involved in, someone has already had a long standing claim to the number. With Carlos Checa, the rider who used #7 in MotoGP, now gone to race the World Superbike series, Vermeulen finally has a chance to stake his own claim on that magic number.

The other class rookies all take the numbers that were expected of them, with Alex de Angelis running #3, Jorge Lorenzo using his trademark #48, and James Toseland keeping the #52 plate. Only Andrea Dovizioso has been forced to change to #4, as his preferred number, 34, has been retired in honor of Kevin Schwantz.

There is no news as yet of Team Roberts, but a full list of teams and riders for 2008 can be found here, and will be kept updated as news about Team Roberts comes in.

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