2023 MotoGP Rider Line Up So Far: 11 Down, 11 To Go

The official announcement that Alex Rins has signed a two-year deal with the LCR Honda team means that the 2023 MotoGP grid is now officially half full. The factory Yamaha, KTM, and Aprilia seats are all confirmed, as is the Gresini Ducati team. There has been official confirmation of one side of the Repsol Honda, Ducati Factory, and LCR Honda teams.

Does that mean that the remaining 11 seats are still wide open? Not all of them. There are some which are sure bets, while others are still very much open.

The Ducati seats are all pretty much taken, the only question being who will be shuffled where. Johann Zarco is as good as certain of remaining at Pramac Ducati, while Ducati are still pondering whether to put Jorge Martin or Enea Bastianini on the second factory seat, the other being consigned to the second bike at Pramac. The Mooney VR46 squad of Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi is likely to remain unchanged for 2023.

The second Repsol Honda seat is almost certain to go to Joan Mir, though there have been delays to the signing of that contract. Mir's recent slump in form has also shifted the balance of power in HRC's favor. The most likely scenario is that the contract will be announced ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, but there could still be bumps along the road for the relationship.

The second seat at LCR will depend both on Ai Ogura's form and on whether he feels ready to move up to MotoGP. With Idemitsu footing the bill for the second LCR bike, there is no doubt that it will go to a rider from Asia, with Somkiat Chantra being another option if HRC decide to move on from Takaaki Nakagami. Nakagami is still in the running for the seat, however.

Since their switch from Yamaha to Aprilia RNF, the team has remained completely open to ideas about who they could put on the bike, though as Aprilia Racing CEO Massimo Rivola explained to Niki Kovács and myself, Aprilia will also have a say in the rider line up. Raul Fernandez looks set to make the switch from KTM Tech3, while the second seat is likely to go to Miguel Oliveira. Darryn Binder could be retained if either of those signings fall through.

At Tech3, Pol Espargaro looks set to make a return to KTM, though this time in the satellite team. It would be a reuniting with both KTM, who Espargaro rode for from 2017 to 2020, and Tech3, where Espargaro rode a Yamaha from 2014 to 2016. Remy Gardner is likely to stay put at Tech3, but that is far from assured at the moment.

With the loss of the two seats formerly held by Suzuki, there is little space for anyone currently in Moto2, outside of the slots held by Idemitsu specifically for Asian riders. Riders like Pedro Acosta, Augusto Fernandez, and Aron Canet will likely have to wait until 2024, or perhaps even 2025, when most of the contracts will once again be up.

The confirmed contracts are in the table below:

Rider Bike Contract through:
     
Monster Energy Yamaha    
Franco Morbidelli Yamaha M1 2023
Fabio Quartararo Yamaha M1 2024
     
Red Bull KTM    
Brad Binder KTM RC16 2024
Jack Miller KTM RC16 2024
     
Aprilia    
Aleix Espargaro Aprilia RS-GP 2024
Maverick Viñales Aprilia RS-GP 2024
     
Repsol Honda    
Marc Márquez Honda RC213V 2024
     
Ducati Factory    
Pecco Bagnaia Ducati Desmosedici GP23 2024
     
     
Gresini Ducati    
Alex Marquez Ducati Desmosedici GP22 2023
Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati Desmosedici GP22 2023
     
LCR Honda    
Alex Rins Honda RC213V 2024
Source: 

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Comments

^ Thanks David.

The rhythm, pace, character etc of Silly Season sure has been changing and varying. Slower now. And evidently these contracts are a far cry from previous Alien securing big money deals. Riders used to hold more cards. These days we all watch as Ducati's gladiators bash it out elimination style. The riders are alternating brash expectation with reticent ducking for cover. 

You could get whiplash the last few big silly seasons. Shifted to all gas early grabbing spots, then to a slow just waiting. Waiting punctuated by abrupt changes in the bikes avail. Nearly silent discarding of riders that were JUST last silly go around tipped as top options (like Dovi, or Fernandez, sort of Pol dropped back to a current backmarker bike. That won races not long ago...whiplash). Moto3 and Moto2 just raised minimum ages and the size of the grids just shrank. 

Weird time lately/now? GP Riders are going to MotoAmerica and BSB. 

Are we about to get another sudden bike change in MotoGP? Usually the seats in the musical chairs are still, and the riders are seen as moving. Right now, a rider can be still and the chair goes Ducati or Aprilia. Now? Oliveira has his butt up. Aprilia chair pops under. Hey, where did that Duc seat move to? Alex Marquez?! Then there is the matter of Fernandez who never sat down a year ago - poor dusty forlorn orange seat! Aprilia makes room for the Fernandez ass? No way! Ok. They need a kid, its the script. Just put tape over his grill. 

Bikes. OK, may as well bite. Next move is a 2nd set of Yamaha bikes. Of all rather circular in movement things, back over to VR46 like (just me? More of us?) thought may happen last time we were here. Vale is fickle. 

Herve, Aquamaha, Gresini, VR46, Aquaprilia...lately THEY are scooting chairs around in circles to music while the riders stand waiting bewildered? 

Exceptions have been few. The Marc hunkered down on the ground near his folding front wobbly chair. Heck, even Quarty says he nearly left Yamaha - talks were stretched way out. 

Didn't we all say Mir and Quarty would get inked, then the rest would follow? Nope. Suzuki abandons their lovely ship, then Ducati just waits for Bastiannini to be last rider still standing. Luckiest rider of the 2022 Silly Season? Alex Marquez somehow manages to be passed down a GORGEOUS RACE WINNING DUCATI seat. Really?! 

Weird

Not ruling out a very last minute surprise. Like Morbidelli - Toprak bike swap. Or Yamaha 2nd Team arrives.

It is difficult to foresee the fortunes of Rins and Mir at Honda. Immediately, very difficult switch. But isn't Honda in a rebuilding transition? The bike, the riders, strategy? This bike could arrive. The motor is amazing, and chassis is still pretty fresh and yet to be developed. One of the hungry Suzuki expats could do the business.

 

v hiya stumo! Recently Quarty opened up finally about the Yam deal this yr, that he really thought of leaving. He said Blue brought new engine specific engineers added to the program to update the engine post freeze as he wanted, and he came around to sign. 

Honda is the new Aprilia imho, the brand no one wants to ride for....OK it's not quite that bad but no one is doing the business on it. Anyone on the Idemitsu seat at LCR will be happy to be on any MotoGP bike and  I'm guessing that Rins and Mir didn't have anywhere else to go and have gladly accepted a nice bundle of wages.

Yamaha had better bring what they've promised or Quatararo will off. Is that going to be a V4? Who knows.

edit.... 'shrink, yes, they've obviously pulled their finger out :re new engineers, but they still have to produce what they've promised...and i think if they don't he'll be off..

One win and one championship. Mir-aculous indeed!

Hard not to start drawing parallels between these two. Incredibly talented. Wonderful people. Grabbed a championship by the skin of their teeth (fully deserved, the points don't lie). But, a bit of a knack for not quite managing to get the breaks to line up and propel them to that potential that's so evident.

I wrote that a few weeks ago. Pecco might be better off without the pressure where I believe the other 2 would thrive.

I don't believe anyone can thrive in the Ducati Factory. Casey, Vale, Andrea(s) and Jorge all gave it a hell of a shot, but if they couldn't these new kids have no chance. Just another line of cannon fodder for the 'best bike on the grid'.

Having seen Toprak destroy the field at Donnington with what could only be described as a Lorenzo performance, with everything that Lorenzo had plus a massive braking ability, I would say 100% that he will move to Motogp next year. GPOne reporting that a divorce with Frankie is possible, and they are pretty good with any Italian news. Where does that leave Frankie? At the moment he is lost and Dovi's problems will not ease his pains. Any improvement Yamaha bring will be to make it more of what FQ wants,which will take it further from Frankies riding style. There is nowhere for him to go if they leave it later, a seat at Aprilia would be perfect for him, but it will be gone by the time a decision is made. I dont think Frankie would look at WSBK

TR rides like FQ and JL, and his lesson for everyone at Donnington really opened my eyes, he brakes like FQ but even harder, yet is still smooth around the corners.0.2 seconds between his lap times is just like FQ and JL.

If Frankie hasnt got a podium by the end of August, Im sure that TR will get another test ride. He has assumed a PR role for Yamaha and the crowds love his exploits at the event, he has built a hard but happy image, and shows he is a real human with touches like giving his trophy to Paul Denning for his father. In contrast, Frankie looks like he is sucking lemons every weekend.

I don’t really see TR’s riding style being at all like JL’s. TR dive-bombs the apex and nearly parks the bike on some corners. JL was all about sweeping lines and corner speed. If anything, I think TR would have been a weapon on the previous iteration of the Honda RCV. 

But at the weekend he got to the front and was smooth and fast right through in a very JL/FQ style and certainly with a 0.2 second lap time difference, riding hard on the front end and taking all the sweeping lines around the circuit, that's how Donington must be ridden except the corner at Melbourne and the last corner (less so)

Toprak’s divebomb corner entry is his passing/not being passed weapon… when he’s out in front he is all corner speed. I think he’s a perfect fit for the second factory Yamaha GP bike.

Honda - Mir, sure is hard for them to find their pen given how utterly obvious it has been for so long. 

Their offer must be HORRIBLE. Dude, Joan Mir, dash over to Bologna!!! Take a Pramac!! Beat the ever living shite out of everything Honda from lights out Qatar. Don't trust Honda. Move fast, and ignore the dysfunctional 2nd Red seat "competition." Them stalling leaves opportunity scooted in the back door. The Pramac 2023 Ducati seat is a GEM ready to win a Championship as soon as your #36 stickers are on it. The Repsol? Feck no mate!

Rins just said

"Lorenzo and Pol suffered a lot with Honda. Alex Marquez, who has achieved podiums is suffering. I am excited about this project. I don't think about whether the bike is too difficult, I will see what I can do. I want to enjoy the bike, make it mine and get results." Uhm, dont forget that little sufferring thing with that other #93 Mr Rins. You' best think about the Honda's difficulty before a resulting ambulance ride?

Really tough for me to see Rins not fall (literally) back into a crash fest with Honda.

Agreed. I've been locked out of a popular website for two weeks because I refuse to click on a Honda and Scooter for a "Click on all of the motorcycles" CAPTCHA.

(@D999) that's commitment.  :D Thumbs up.

So virtually everyone has suffered on the Honda, what makes Rins thing he's going to be any different? 

Rins might be grateful just to have a ride for 2023. Maybe there's more to the story (more than what can be interpreted from the press releases) as to why he chose what could currently be considered the most difficult bike on the grid over the least difficult. 

If HRC and one-time-MotoGP winner Mir are really bumping heads about coin - sign Acosta and be done with it. He'll be cheaper and it's a roll of the dice with a huge upside potential that can't be ignored. Mir can grovel to Ducati and try and worm into the factory seat, or sit out (as he has threatened to do - let's see shall we!). Yamaha could make it work if Toprak doesn't make the jump too, and it would suit Mir better.

I'm not sure anybody has done much winning on a Suzuki. Wins, Rins 3 from 90, Mir 1 from 60. Points average, Rins 8.2, Mir 9.1 but the Suzuki was less of a weapon in 2017/18. Taken as a whole both riders have produced similar levels of success with what they had. Their best season was obviously 2020, Mir 1st, Rins 3rd. Rins has proven to be a consistently fast rider and on occasion in a race the fastest. Blows a bit hot on cold around a pretty good average. Mir, with the exception of his rookie season, has proven to be a points monster given what he had at his disposal or what his potential was. 2020 was a 'mad' season but if you look at 2021 he was 'always there' as they say. Not very high 'always there' but consistent and that was rewarded with 3rd in the final standings. He didn't win a single race but had a lot of pre-season favorites, faster rider/bike combos, some with wins, eating his dust in the points. 2022 has turned out to be an ever worsening disaster for Suzuki since they announced their exit. Previous to that their results were consistent with previous seasons.

Between Rins and Mir, I'd choose Mir. Going on past performances, I think the points will come with Mir. Points coming race in and race out, no dnf, will always leave a rider in some position to fight when it counts in the second half or last third of the season. I think Mir will make a good job with any bike. This years Honda is not next years Honda. However, if I did get to choose....I would pop Acosta on the bike.

I would like to take a moment during this five week lull of non-motogp activity to comment on comments.

A few years ago David removed the ability to like a comment on MM. I would like to bring that option back.

My experience on the few other forums I visit is that the opinion of the majority--who are active, visit often, but don't type a lot--does not always line up with the opinion of those who are posting. 

I am not suggesting adding a thumbs-down, only likes. It might give us a better sense of which way the less-prolific majority is leaning. It's a passive but useful way to let the commentator know what others might be thinking.

(note that I have four five likes in my comment!)

One thumb up, St. Stephen.

I would rather see Mir on a Ducati next year. But if he does ride for Honda, maybe he'll click with the bike and team and make the RCV look good. That would be interesting.