There are significant technical rule changes for 2018 which will hopefully make the racing closer and also bring non-factory teams closer to their factory counterparts.
There have been few rider line-up changes in the top teams with only move of note being Leon Camier, who moves to the factory Honda squad after brilliant seasons aboard the ageing MV Agusta. Camier will hope for big improvements from the new Fireblade as it was surprisingly off the pace in last year's campaign.
Despite the rule changes and the fact that they will likely impact the Kawasaki factory team the most, Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes still start 2018 as the most likely to lift the championship. Ducati will be hoping increased consistency from Chaz Davies and the benefit of a second season for Marco Melandri will see them close the gap to the green bikes and mount a stronger title challenge this season.
The unchanged Yamaha paring of Alex Lowes and Michael Van der Mark will also hope to be closer to the Kawasaki's and Ducati's and challenging for race wins in the coming season after solid seasons in 2017.