We take a look at nine of the premier class stars who will be moving on to new adventures in the upcoming season
For yet another year, there have been many changes to the MotoGP™ grid. While some will keep their current status with the same manufacturer but a different team, others will try their luck in a completely new project, while just one of them will be a rookie in 2023. Let’s take a look at the nine MotoGP™ riders preparing for a new adventure:
Bastianini from Gresini to Ducati Lenovo Team
Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team), who already showed great glimpses of his talent in his debut season in 2021 with two podiums and eleventh place overall, ended up confirming this during the 2022 campaign. After a relentless victory at the Qatar round, the Italian rider scored six podiums, four of which were victories. Despite four retirements, the Rimini rider was mathematically in the fight for the title until the last races.
Going on to finish 3rd overall, the ‘Beast’ proved that he had to be counted on for the future, and Ducati did just that. On August 26th, the Borgo Panigale-based manufacturer announced the promotion of Bastianini to the Ducati Lenovo Team, alongside reigning World Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team). Will Enea Bastianini be able to trouble Pecco Bagnaia, who will be looking to retain his crown in 2023?
From Suzuki to Honda: A change of scenery for Rins and Mir
Suzuki sent shockwaves through the MotoGP™ market and the paddock in general in May when it announced its withdrawal from the World Championship. That unexpected move directly affected the future of Alex Rins (LCR Honda Castrol) and Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team). In the end, the two Spaniards will remain under the guidance of a Japanese factory, in this case Honda. The 2020 MotoGP™ World Champion will share a box with Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team), while the rider who took two victories in 2022 will partner Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) in the satellite team. After his great season and seventh place overall, will Alex Rins be able to continue his good run of form in 2023 in his new colours?
The GASGAS duo: A rookie and a veteran
Impressive throughout the 2022 season, Augusto Fernández (Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing) was proclaimed Moto2™ World Champion in Valencia at the last GP of the year. The Spaniard’s name had long been a strong contender for promotion to the premier class, until last September when he was officially announced as a member of GASGAS, a firm partnering with Tech3 to form a new MotoGP™ team. The Spaniard, who will be the only rookie on the premier class grid in 2023, will be team-mate to Pol Espargaró (Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing). The Spaniard will return to the Tech3 team, where he made his premier class debut in 2014. After two years with Honda with only two podiums and one pole position, the experienced ’44’ will be the leader of the GASGAS project, which he hopes to bring forward alongside his young teammate.
Oliveira and Raúl Fernández complete the new Aprilia puzzle
Until now associated with Yamaha, the Malaysian RNF structure will move in 2023 to compete with Aprilia, which now boasts a satellite MotoGP™ team for the first time in its history. For this new project, the Italian manufacturer has opted for two very different profiles with Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez. The Portuguese rider is a safe bet, with four years of experience in MotoGP™ and five victories, two of them in 2022. Fourth in the Valencia Test, the ’88’ demonstrated his impressive ability to adapt to the Aprilia and will undoubtedly be one of the men to watch this season, when he Will finally be able to compete in front of a full home crowd at Portimao.
Raúl Fernández, on the other hand, is in a completely different situation. After a difficult rookie year in 2022, the Spaniard has managed to carve out a new niche for himself in the top class of motorcycling, with the intention of demonstrating his true potential during the new season. To do so, the Spaniard will rely on the Malaysian structure, Aprilia and the experience of his team-mate, but will he show all the talent that made him runner-up in the Moto2™ World Championship in 2021?
Other moves: Where will Jack Miller and Alex Márquez ride?
Enea Bastianini’s promotion to the factory Ducati team shook up the transfer market, to the delight of some and to the detriment of others. In this case, the change mainly affected Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Alex Márquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), who took the place of the ‘Beast’. The Australian left his seat in the red box after a total of seven podiums in 2022, culminating in a prestigious victory in Japan and a fifth place finish, his second best season in the elite class.
With eight seasons under his belt in MotoGP™, Miller will form an experienced and interesting line-up alongside Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing). As for Alex Márquez, the Spaniard is leaving Honda to take the opportunity to turn his time in the premier class around in 2023, riding the GP22.
The first important date of the year will come with the Sepang Test on 10 February, so don’t miss it!