Triple premier-class champion Jorge Lorenzo believes MotoGP is enjoying a 'golden era' after emerging from some dark years in terms of manufacturer support.
Just three brands officially competed in MotoGP from 2012-2014 - reaching a low of eleven factory/satellite bikes - forcing cheaper CRT/Open class machines to prop-up the grid.
Such rules are no longer needed, with this year's switch to a single ECU system widely credited with helping attract six factories - Honda, Yamaha, Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia and KTM - for the 2017 season.
And they are not just making up the numbers; a record nine riders - representing four manufacturers and six different teams - celebrated at least one victory this season.
"It's a golden era," said Lorenzo, speaking exclusively to Crash.net
. "We went through difficult times, when there were only 17 bikes on the grid just three or four years ago.
"But now there are 23 bikes, probably 18 with the capacity to win races. We saw this year there were nine different winners. Next year, three factories have MotoGP champions as riders. So this is very interesting for the spectators."
Lorenzo has left Yamaha for Ducati, to try and hand the Italian factory its first MotoGP title since 2007.
Yamaha can still count on nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi and if early testing is anything to go by Lorenzo's replacement Maverick Vinales is also set to be a title contender.
Honda is the only factory to have retained both its riders, reigning champion Marc Marquez and team-mate Dani Pedrosa expecting a more refined RCV package, while Suzuki responded to the loss of Vinales by signing another race winner in the form of Andrea Iannone.
Aprilia and the new KTM project each have a rider with prior MotoGP podiums to his name.