The final missing pieces in the 2023 MotoGP rider market

With the 2022 MotoGP season coming to life this weekend at Silverstone after an unexpectedly long five-week summer break, it’s also time for the final pieces of the silly 2023 season to fall into place.

More than half the grid is already entered, of course, but there are still some very significant moves to come as the grid continues to reshuffle following the shocking news of Suzuki’s departure later this year.

Throwing a monkey wrench into the works for many riders and upsetting the plans of Joan Mir and Alex Rins in particular, as they both hope to continue with the team for 2023, means it may be some time before we know exactly who will be in what colors next. year, but I shouldn’t wait much longer to find out.

Factory Ducati

Martin vs Bastianini

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The question of who will be on the second factory Ducati next year alongside Pecco Bagnaia is something we at least almost have an answer for, as Ducati is wide open that it is now a battle between Jorge Martin and Enea Bastianini to replace to Jack Miller.

The deadline to make a decision will be sometime around the Austrian Grand Prix later this month, meaning an announcement at Ducati’s home round at Misano in early September wouldn’t be much of a surprise.

Despite a strong start to the year for Bastianini that featured three wins, it appears the odds have now tipped in favor of Martin, whose own start to the season was plagued by accidents and the lingering aftermath of last April’s massive crash in Portimao. .

Pramac Ducati

The (decent) consolation prize

George Martin

Whichever of the Martin/Bastianini pairing does not finish in factory red will remain with the manufacturer at the top-tier satellite outfit Pramac Racing.

Ducati emphasized that whichever ends up having to ‘settle’ for the Pramac ride will not suffer contractual downgrades relative to the other, and will have the same machinery spec and level of support.

However, despite the sleek new look of the Pramac bikes introduced mid-season, it’s not the same as the prestige of full Ducati red, is it?

Whoever takes over Pramac will be joined by Johann Zarco, who, although not yet announced, is interested in staying and has the support of the team to do so.

Ducati VR46

Everything ready except the announcement

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Don’t expect any changes to VR46 for 2023, even if we haven’t officially confirmed it yet.

The team is happy with both Marco Bezzecchi (who finished on the podium last time out in Assen) and Luca Marini (who made big improvements during the first half of the season), and it’s hard to see either of them going elsewhere. , especially with the Ducati jam at Pramac. and the factory team.

The main loser in that is Moto2 championship leader Celestino Vietti, of course, with no room for him not only in his own team’s premier class effort, but anywhere else on the MotoGP grid, leaving him trapped. in the middleweight series for at least a year. more year.

honda

Superteam unofficially secured

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The fact that there has not yet been any official word confirming Joan Mir at Honda does not mean that the deal has not been closed, and the fact that Mir has not been in contention for any other previously open seats (such as the LCR place taken by Alex Rins) is a pretty big hint that the 2020 world champion will join Marc Marquez in 2023.

When exactly we can expect the news to come out is anyone’s guess, but even as early as this weekend’s British Grand Prix it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone.

LCR Honda

The fight for the ‘Japanese’ seat only goes one way

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Having committed to Rins as Alex Marquez’s replacement, LCR has been rather coy about which way the wind blows for the other ride, which is backed by Japanese company Idemitsu, and is largely presented as a matter for Honda to decide.

It’s known to be a case of Moto2 rider Ai Ogura vs. incumbent Takaaki Nakagami, and Ogura’s performances in 2022 have been solid enough to the point where there’s virtually no expectation Nakagami can hope to win a stay of execution. after five MotoGP seasons they haven’t had. he presented no podium.

Tech3 KTM

wait for a reunion

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It is clear that KTM has not prioritized keeping an unchanged lineup for Tech3, because it is known that it offered a place there to Miguel Oliveira, who was left out of the works team following the long-term contract of Brad Binder and the signing of Miller.

But Oliveira has not accepted the proposal, and KTM will not stand in the way of his departure, instead apparently choosing to offer refuge to Pol Espargaró, a ‘lame duck’ at Honda now thanks to Mir, and someone whose best years in MotoGP Until now they were spent on a KTM RC16.

Despite a brief disagreement between KTM and their manager, the team will keep Remy Gardner.

RNF Aprilia

KTM contract dispute could be a delay

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In theory, that rules out Gardner’s teammate Raul Fernandez, but KTM has insisted it retains an option on Fernandez’s services, hinting that a financial settlement will be needed to get him out of his contract.

Only Aprilia’s future satellite team RNF is in a position to act on this, having already been heavily linked with Fernandez when it was still the Petronas-backed Yamaha RNF satellite team.

RNF has Darryn Binder and Andrea Dovizioso on the books right now. Dovizioso has shown less than zero public interest in extending his MotoGP career beyond 2022, while Binder wants to be in the mix but is realistic in admitting he is not the first choice. But at least it’s a presumptive endorsement if KTM’s demands over Fernandez’s release prove prohibitive.

In any case, Oliveira seems to be a lock for the other side of the garage.

Possible MotoGP lineup for 2023

Ducati: Pecco Bagnaia/Enea Bastianini or Jorge Martin
yamaha: Fabio Quartararo/Franco Morbidelli
Aprilia: Aleix Espargaro/Maverick Viñales
KTM: Brad Binder/Jack Miller
Sling: joan mir/Marc Márquez
Pramac Ducati: Johann Zarco/Enea Bastianini or Jorge Martin
Gresini Ducati: Alex Marquez/Fabio di Giannantonio
Ducati VR46: Marco Bezzecchi/Luca Marini
RNF Aprilia: Miguel Oliveira/Raul Fernandez
Tech3 KTM: Pol Espargaro/Remy Gardner
LCR Honda: alex rins/Ai Ogura

Clauses in italics = deal not yet made or officially announced

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