5. Aleix Espargaró

Aleix Espargaro - NGM Forward Racing

Yep, we’re going out on a very long limb here because when it comes to Grand Prix motorcycle racing, Aleix Espargaró has never won a race in any division. But there’s a first time for everything, right? Besides being the top CRT rider/team for the two years of CRT existence, the reason we’re giving the nod to Espargaró over the likes of Stefan Bradl, Alvaro Bautista or Cal Crutchlow is that Espargaró has been among the leaders in each and every preseason test session – factory and non-factory bikes alike.

Riding the new “Open” class this year aboard a Forward Yamaha package (similar to Yamaha’s former M1 factory machine – Ed.), with advantages such as four more liters of fuel, may give the Spanish rider the edge he needs against the factory bikes.