One theory is that, as a MotoGP season goes on, factory team riders gain a greater advantage over their satellite counterparts because they are first to receive technical upgrades.

Assuming that's the case, might the unique 2020 world championship - a late start and perhaps only ten rounds at best - put the Independent riders on a more level playing field?

The long delay caused by the coronavirus means the four manufacturers (Honda, Ducati, Yamaha and KTM) supporting satellite teams have plenty of time to produce all of the latest parts needed by the opening race.

That means there is no excuse for Petronas Yamaha (Quartararo), Pramac Ducati, Tech3 KTM and LCR Honda (Crutchlow), which are all due to race '2020' bikes, not having exactly the same spec as their respective factory teams for round one.

Meanwhile, Independent riders set to run year-old machinery (LCR's Nakagami plus Avintia Ducati's Zarco and Rabat, Petronas rider Morbidelli having a different (A-spec) engine design to the other M1s) might well start the year with upgrades that were not due to be delivered until later in the season.

Once competition is underway, the compressed calendar would allow little time for factories to design and deliver new developments based on race data, meaning even the factory team bikes might change little from the start until the end of the championship.

That's the theory anyway.

In practice, Tech3 boss Herve Poncharal doesn't think there will be a 'dramatic change' in the championship outcome compared with if a normal 2020 season had gone ahead as planned.

"It's difficult to say, but why not?" Poncharal told Crash.net, when asked if a short season could help the satellite riders. "A different environment could change some things.

"But I think we could already see the potential of each of the manufacturers and riders [during testing] and I'm not so sure it's going to change dramatically from what we were thinking would happen this season, before this crisis.

"But if it did [help the satellite riders cause a surprise], many people would be happy."

Fabio Quartararo (7), Jack Miller (5) and Cal Crutchlow (3) took podiums as satellite riders last season.

With engine and aerodynamic design set to be frozen until 2022, all of next year's grid should start on the 'latest' spec machines for the first time in the MotoGP era, assuming those currently on year-old bikes are upgraded as usual over the winter.

Latest 2020 MotoGP Calendar (April 7)

Round

Date

Race

Circuit

1

8 March

Qatar (MotoGP cancelled)

Losail

?

3 May

Spain (postponed)

Jerez

?

17 May

France (postponed)

Le Mans

?

31 May

Italy (postponed)

Mugello

?

7 June

Catalunya (postponed)

Barcelona

2

21 June

Germany

Sachsenring

3

28 June

Netherlands

TT Circuit Assen

4

12 July

Finland

KymiRing (Subject to homologation)

5

9 August

Czech Republic

Brno

6

16 August

Austria

Red Bull Ring

7

30 August

Great Britain

Silverstone

8

13 September

San Marino

Misano

9

27 September

Aragon

Aragon (rescheduled)

10

4 October

Thailand

Buriram (rescheduled)

11

18 October

Japan

Motegi

12

25 October

Australia

Phillip Island

13

1 November

Malaysia

Sepang

14

15 November

Americas

COTA (rescheduled)

15

22 November

Argentina

Termas de Rio Hondo (rescheduled)

16

29 November

Valencia

Ricardo Tormo (rescheduled)

 

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