With the first tests of 2017 fast approaching - track action gets underway next week, with the WorldSBK teams testing at Jerez, followed by MotoGP the week after - teams are presenting their new liveries, new sponsors and new teams for 2017.
This week sees two MotoGP factory teams unveil their new liveries and their new bikes for the 2017 season. The Movistar Yamaha team kick off proceedings on Thursday, 19th January, with the presentation of the 2017 Yamaha YZR-M1, with Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales as their riders. The following day, Friday, 20th January, Ducati follow suit, presenting Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso. Both events will be streamed live, for fans all over the world to see.
The Yamaha launch is to be held in Madrid, at the head office of Telefonica Group, the telecom giant which owns the Movistar brand. The event starts at 11:30am CET, and will be streamed live on both the official Yamaha MotoGP website, and on MotoGP.com. The new livery is to be unveiled at noon CET, with a press conference to follow.
The next day, Ducati launch their 2017 campaign, at their Borgo Panigale factory near Bologna. That event starts at 10:30am CET, and will also be streamed live. The Ducati launch will be shown live on the Ducati website. The presentation will follow a familiar pattern, with interviews with Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna, and team bosses Paolo Ciabatti and Davide Tardozzi, as well as riders Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso, and the new bike being displayed. The Ducati launch is particularly eagerly awaited, as it will be the first chance we will get to see whether Ducati have found a solution to the ban on wings in 2017.
The Suzuki team will be the next to launch their 2017 team. The new bike and new riders - Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins - will be officially presented in Sepang on the 29th January, the evening before the test starts in Malaysia. No details are currently available, but it is likely to be held in the early evening Malaysian time.
Repsol Honda will follow Suzuki, though their launch is after the test. The Repsol Honda team will present their new livery in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 3rd February. The Repsol Honda team remains unchanged for 2017, with Dani Pedrosa once again alongside reigning world champion Marc Marquez.
KTM will be the final factory to present their team. That launch will be held on 20th February in Salzburg, the home of Red Bull. There, the livery for the 2017 KTM RC16 will be presented, with Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro as riders.
Salzburg is also the location for the launch of Honda's WorldSBK team. The location of the launch is Hangar 7, home of the Red Bull aircraft demonstration team, confirming that Red Bull is to be the main sponsor of the Ten Kate Honda team in WorldSBI in 2017. That launch is to be held on 6th February.
A day later, the Pata Yamaha squad will also launch their 2017 campaign, alongside the rest of Yamaha's global racing activities. On 7th February, Yamaha will present their entire racing program, with the exception of the MotoGP team, at Yamaha's base in Gerno di Lesmo, near Milan. The Pata Yamaha WorldSBK squad will be presented alongside Yamaha's World Supersport, MXGP, MX2, Endurance World Championship, Enduro, and junior MX and enduro teams.
On 8th February, it is the turn of the Aruba.it Ducati team. The Ducati WorldSBK squad is to be presented in Arezzo, home of title sponsor Aruba.it. There, Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri will be presented to the world.
Further north, a Moto2 team will be launched. Also on 8th February, the Forward Racing team will present its Moto2 program in Milan, with riders Luca Marini and Lorenzo Baldassarri. Big things are expected of Baldassarri in 2017, while Marini will be aiming to grow into a regular candidate for top 5 finishes.