Top 11 2016 MotoGP paint schemes

Your 2016 MotoGP bike spotter's guide

As 2016’s MotoGP season gets underway we’re set for the usual first race confusion about who’s riding what and which colour scheme they’re using. This Top 10 (ahem, 11…) should help sort that out.

Given that there are 11 teams on the grid, we can cover them all here. Are any of this year’s paint jobs ones that will stick in the memory like legendary colours of the past? We’d hazard that there are no modern equivalents of Rothmans Hondas, Pepsi Suzukis or Marlboro Yamahas here, set to be burned indelibly on the memory, but you might disagree.

From a purely aesthetic perspective, here’s how the 2016 championship lines up:

11th/unplaced: Aspar Ducati. (Eugene Laverty, Yonny Hernandez)

At the time of writing we’re still waiting to catch a glimpse of the final 2016 Aspar paint scheme, so there’s scope for improvement in a few days when the season gets underway in Qatar. During testing, the team has been running unpainted fairings with Power Electronics logos, so a largely white scheme like the one used on the team’s Hondas last year is likely despite the switch to Ducati GP14.2s this season.

10: Avintia Ducati (Hector Barbera, Loris Baz)

There’s nothing terribly bad about the Avintia paint job. Blue and white is a classic combo and a splash of red adds some extra interest. But the spattering of smaller sponsors messes up the otherwise clean, simple design and leaves an overall impression of a bike that’s okay-looking but not terribly memorable.

9: LCR Honda (Cal Crutchlow)

While there are the makings of a good-looking paint scheme in here somewhere, it’s again hidden under a layer of slapped-on stickers. While the green of the Castrol stickers worked well with red and white on the old Castrol Honda WSB machines, here the old 'red and green should never be seen' saying springs to mind.

8: Aprilia Gresini (Stefan Bradl, Alvaro Bautista)

It feels a bit unfair to put Aprilia this far down the list, as it’s a good-looking bike with a colour scheme that’s easy to imagine being replicated on road-going models (in fact, we’ll be flabbergasted if exactly that doesn’t happen…) But again there’s a red/green clash that’s a little hard on the eye. 

7: Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (Tito Rabat, Jack Miller)

The blue/silver/yellow scheme of the Marc VDS Hondas isn’t one you’re going to confuse with another bike on the grid, and there’s not much to complain about when it comes to the bikes’ appearance. Yes, there’s a bit of that sponsor-overload that’s often to be seen on the machines of smaller teams (and who can blame them for that?), but overall it’s a solid effort.

6: Movistar Yamaha (Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo)

We’re bracing ourselves for complaints here. Yes, the Movistar colours are MotoGP classic, and blue mixes well with Yamaha’s corporate scheme, but there’s just too much going on here. Yes, it’s instantly recognisable, but that’s largely because the image of Rossi and Lorenzo on the Movistar Yamahas has been so well pummelled into us. But objectively there’s just a bit too much going on here for it to be an all-time great paint job.

5: Octo Pramac Ducati (Danilo Petrucci, Scott Redding)

It’s hard to beat red, white and blue. There’s just something about that combination of colours that works incredibly well, and the Pramac Ducati manages to look good as a result even though the actual design is a bit hard to comprehend. The fairing is straightforward enough – stripes of various thicknesses, all going in the same direction – but everything goes a bit odd on the tank, seat and tail. With a rider in place it looks better.

4: Repsol Honda

If you’d never seen a Repsol Honda before you might think that the colour scheme, with its strange combination of stripes, semi-circles and a bit of a Honda wing, was a mess. Several shades of orange/red/yellow also don’t help. But the fact is that we all have seen it before. So many times, in fact, that it’s impossible to imagine it as anything other than a front-line GP bike, vying for wins and titles at every opportunity. Like it or not it’s the one paint scheme on the grid that is certain to remain firmly fixed in your memory.

3: Ducati

The latest Desmosedici colours are perhaps a bit less striking than some of the purer, red-biased schemes that the team has run in the past, but it’s still one of the better-looking bikes on the grid. Once again there’s the red, white and blue combination, albeit a bit heavy on the white, and as with some other bikes here, the Ducati actually looks better with a rider on board (as long as he’s wearing the correct leathers, of course.)

2: Tech 3 Yamaha

The black, yellow and fluorescent green of Tech 3’s Monster Energy colour scheme might well go down as a classic paint job that we gaze back on with fondness in the future. It’s simply so different from all the other bikes on the grid – most of which use lots of white and red – that it can’t do anything but stand out and be instantly recognisable. 

1: Suzuki

Instantly recognisable is a term that equally applies to the Suzuki team, thanks to a paint job that forgoes main sponsorship from an outside company and instead concentrates on exactly why manufacturers are in GP racing in the first place – promoting itself. It would be physically impossible to write ‘SUZUKI’ in a larger font on this bike, both literally and metaphorically.

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