The full entry list for the 2016 World Superbike Championship has now been released and with the first round of the season at Philip Island only weeks away, this is probably the right time to make some predictions about how the season will kick off...
The 2016 season already looks to be much stronger than in 2015. The return of Yamaha and a much improved presence from both BMW and MV Agusta should mean that there will be more competition, both in the battle for podium places and in the mid-pack.
As seen in previous seasons, a strong showing at Philip Island does not always translate throughout the entire season but who are the ones to watch in the season opener? Expect the well-prepared factory Kawasaki and Ducati teams to hit the ground running with Jonathan Rea and Chaz Davies both keen to continue their strong end of season form into the new campaign.
Reigning British Superbike Champion Josh Brookes joins the grid, aboard a semi factory supported BMW S1000RR. He will be looking to start the season well after a great season in BSB, we believe that he has a chance to be top five in Australia, in front of his home fans.
Nicky Hayden joins the championship from MotoGP, riding for the factory Honda team. The Honda's performed well last year at this round so he will also be looking to make a positive start aboard the doubtless ageing Honda Fireblade.
It will also be interesting to see which teams and riders adapt best to the new race weekend format which sees the first race take place on Saturdays after qualifying with the second race the following day.