21 Down, 1 To Go: Nakagami Gets Another Year With LCR, Marini Back With VR46, Only One MotoGP Seat Open

The MotoGP grid is nearly complete. Today's announcement that Takaaki Nakagami is to stay at LCR Honda for one more season comes a day after the VR46 team announced a contract extension with Luca Marini for 2023, as well as confirming that the option the team had on Marco Bezzecchi's contract for 2023 had been taken up. Those three announcements bring the grand total of signed riders to 21 for next season, leaving just the second seat at GasGas Tech3 open.

Nakagami's signing had been expected, after Ai Ogura confirmed that he would be staying in Moto2 for another season, and had turned down the offer to move up to MotoGP. The second LCR Honda seat is funded by Idemitsu, and the Japanese oil firm has made it clear they want an Asian rider to take that seat. Honda are also keen to have a Japanese rider in MotoGP.

Keeping Nakagami also provides stability inside Honda at a critical juncture. With Alex Rins and Joan Mir arriving, and Marc Marquez returning from surgery after only riding intermittently for the past two seasons, keeping Nakagami means there is a rider who understands both the bike and its development trajectory over the past couple of seasons. Nakagami also speaks Japanese, which helps communication with HRC engineers.

The choice by the Mooney VR46 squad to keep both their riders was a no-brainer. Both Marini and Bezzecchi have shown great potential, with Bezzecchi currently the top rookie in MotoGP. There is no reason to change.

Press releases from LCR and VR46 appear below:


13 September 2022

Ahead of this weekend’s AragonGP, Takaaki Nakagami and HRC have signed a contract extension that will keep the 30-year-old riding for the LCR Honda IDEMITSU team in the MotoGP class in 2023.

Born in Chiba in 1992, Takaaki Nakagami made his MotoGP™ debut in 2018 with the LCR Honda IDEMITSU Team and 2023 will be their 6th season together.

Year by year, Nakagami has demonstrated consistent improvements and so far, during his 80 MotoGP race starts: has finished as the top Independent Team Rider on five occasions and has taken six top-five finishes. Furthermore, Nakagami has accumulated one Pole Position and four Front Row starts in the premier class alongside his 14 Moto2 World Championship podiums, which included two wins.

Nakagami, HRC and LCR Honda IDEMITSU are pleased to continue the relationship. All parties are looking forward to another exciting MotoGP season and are again aiming to ultimately compete close to the main title contenders.

Lucio Cecchinello
“We are very pleased with this announcement, since 2020 Taka has proved to be a very fast rider able to fight for podium positions and this year he has consistently fought to finish as the top Honda rider. I trust in his potential and thanks to his six years of experience riding the Honda RCV213 motorbike, he will definitely help the LCR Honda IDEMITSU Team and HRC to improve our bike package and to close the gap with our competitors.”

Takaaki Nakagami
“I am very happy to be able to continue racing in MotoGP in 2023 with LCR Honda IDEMITSU. I would like to thank IDEMITSU and Honda HRC for their continuous support. I am looking forward to the next season, and I will give it everything to achieve the best results with the team. Meanwhile, for the rest of this season, I will continue to work hard to improve my performance.”


Constantly growing in the current season, the rider from Tavullia will still race on the Ducati Desmosedici GP. He will share the garage with Marco Bezzecchi who has signed a two-year contract in 2021

Tavullia (Italy), September 12th 2022 - The 2023 line up of the Mooney VR46 Racing Team that will race on the Ducati Desmosedici GP is completed with the signing of a new contract for the next year. In fact, Luca Marini will once again wear the yellow and black of the Tavullia Team in 2023. Alongside him, Marco Bezzecchi with a two-year agreement signed at the end of the last season for his debut in the Top class.

A confirmation, that of Luca, the result of the great work of the technical team, a stripe of positive results throughout the season and an incredible fast pace held in this second half of the Championship where he impressed everyone with three consecutive Top5s after the summer break. For the 25-year-old from Tavullia, rookie in MotoGP in 2021 and runner-up World Champion in Moto2 in 2020, a constant and continuous progression with ambitious goals for the future.

To Marco Bezzecchi, currently the best rookie and on the podium for the first time in the premier class at Assen last June, instead the other Ducati of the Mooney VR46 Racing Team as per the two-year contract valid from January 2022 for two seasons.


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Surely it would have been a no brained for Remy to be on that bike? At least a 2nd year to get to grips with the big bike.  Wonder how nervous the rest of the KTM junior talent are now? Quick finish to a GP career.

Folks think Ducati have been crap at rider management? KTM set the (low) standard.
Why would any junior rider stake their claim on KTM when a World Champion is treated like this?

I think he'll have a great go! On the Yamaha in particular. Sincerely, he could be our fourth pointy end runner. Hoping so! Opposite unfortunately for Gerloff going to the 2nd BMW team w Baz. That is a mis step. He's been running 2nd pack. Now he will likely be mid field and off tele screens. America just got ByeMaybeWinner'd even worse than Redding did!


Cheers and enjoy the wknd Ape-Reddy down under!