The 2023 MotoGP Season Preview: Anything But A Foregone Conclusion
Writing MotoGP season previews used to be a relatively simple affair: discuss the four or five riders who had a realistic chance of winning the championship, compare the strengths and weaknesses of the Yamaha vs the Honda, and ask whether Ducati have done enough this year to catch up. A few notes on the remainder of the grid, and you were done.
Previewing the 2023 MotoGP season is potentially a much more time-consuming affair. All 22 riders on the 2023 grid have grand prix victories to their name in one class or another. All five MotoGP factories had bikes on the podium last year, and only Honda didn't score a win. There are 13 world champions lining up in MotoGP in 2023. To say the grid is stacked with talent is an understatement.
Potential champions this year? Obviously Pecco Bagnaia has a good chance of defending. But Yamaha have given Fabio Quartararo the extra speed he was missing to be able to challenge. Enea Bastianini could well surprise and upset his factory Ducati teammate. Aprilia have refined the RS-GP to a point where Aleix Espargaro is a serious candidate, and there is no doubting the talent of his teammate Maverick Viñales either. Jorge Martin has a better bike and a point to prove, and sprint races will play right into his hands. Miguel Oliveira is very much in the same boat. And it would be foolish to write Marc Marquez off, whatever the state of the Honda at the moment.