The World Supersport Championship looked destined to heading into a new era when Cal Crutchlow prised Honda's seemingly impenetrable grip from the trophy at the end of 2009, but heading into 2010, things don't look so promising.
Yamaha's title win in 2009, together with their first at Superbike level, was made all the more poignant by the fact it had already been decided it wouldn't return in a works capacity in 2010 to defend its crown.
Even so, it was still a surprise to learn that not a single example of the title-winning bike – works or private – would be included on the full-time entry list.
The manufacturer's absence has had a big effect on the number of starters at this weekend's opening round at Phillip Island, with a field of 17 set to compete. By comparison, 30 riders started in 2009.
Throw in the effect of some riders choosing to pursue the new Moto2 Championship, as well as the ever present concerns over finance, and the 2010 World Supersport Championship doesn't look in such rude health on paper.
Nonetheless, what the series may lack in numbers it certainly makes up for in talent.
While Crutchlow has graduated to the World Superbike stage, four of those classified inside the top five last season remain to challenge for the title.
Leading the way is Parkalgar Honda's Eugene Laverty, the Irishman entering his second season in the Supersport championship after just missing out on the title to Crutchlow in 2009.
Judging by his performances last season, Laverty is the assumed favourite for this year's crown. However, he faces stiff opposition from two particular sources – Kenan Sofuoglu
and Joan Lascorz.
Having seen its run of titles come to a somewhat anti-climatic end in 2009, Ten Kate Honda head into the new season determined to avoid the poor start to the season that ruled it out of contention early on.