The other major influence is the unexpected absence of the dominant force. Marc Marquez, unquestionably the towering talent of his generation, broke his right humerus in a first-race crash, and thanks to the difficult nature of this injury has been absent ever since.
Whereas for the past six years, almost without exception, the others have been riding to see who would come second, the races are now there to be won.
In any field of endeavour, from politics to… well, to motorcycle racing, this will lead to a power struggle. So it has, with most surprising results.
Instead of Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, Honda-mounted Marc’s understudy for the past three years, taking the lead, the second-most experienced rider (behind only Rossi) has been submerged in a series of brawls with repeatedly unpredictable outcomes.
A gang of feisty youths squabbling over the vacant role of Alpha Male.
A series of 11 races so far has yielded eight different winners.
Only Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli (both Yamaha B-team riders) have more than one victory, with three and two respectively.
One-time winners range from experience runners like Dovizioso and Maverick Viñales (Yamaha) through the mid-range of established undergraduates Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) and Alex Rins (Suzuki) to first-timers, the KTM pair Miguel Oliveira and class rookie Brad Binder.
As remarkably, the leader of the championship, in the short break before the final triple-header, has yet to win a race. He is clear coming-man Joan Mir, in his second year on the ever-improving Suzuki, demonstrating the value of consistent podium finishes.