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Next Event Starts in:
3hrs 24min - MotoGP Qualifying
Mar 7, 2024
Stewart Lyons

MotoGP Season Preview

Regarding race results, Moto GP 2023 ended in a predictable fashion, with Francesco Bagnaia picking up his second championship in two seasons on the dominant Ducati. That championship run did include a wobble, and Bagnaia’s chances could’ve been dashed had the injuries sustained in the horror crash at Catalunya been worse.

However, that exciting championship battle was somewhat overshadowed by the biggest rider move in years. After a season of rumors, Marc Marquez finally decided to end his association with the Honda factory, as the lure of a Ducati and his brother as a teammate proved to be too much. He moved from a struggling factory bike that Marquez had pushed to the point of crashing multiple times throughout the season to a satellite team that will run last season’s championship-winning Ducati.

Since 2002, only Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi have won the MotoGP World Championship in three seasons. This season, Bagnaia has the opportunity to join them, and standing in his way will be his closest challenger, Jorge Martin. In 2023, Martin gained consistency, and as Bagnaia faltered, Martin was ready to pounce.

Teams outside Ducati have also made rider changes and bike upgrades to close the gap. The factory Honda lineup of Marini and Mir will have their work cut out for them throughout the season, and success looks highly unlikely.

Yamaha has made steps forward with its bike and has been testing some aggressive aero changes. It certainly has the top-end speed and may sneak in a podium or two.

Aprilla has looked quick in testing. Espargaro and Vinales will have some races where they perform well, but neither rider has been capable of a consistent run of form in MotoGP. Both have their favorite tracks that they always perform well at.

The KTMs consistently challenged the Ducati’s throughout the season without ever really taking the next step up. They will win races this season, but it won’t be enough for their factory riders to make a sustained championship challenge. Binder and Miller will both be under pressure to perform. Miller, in particular, has been under the spotlight, and a disappointing end to 2023 will mean he has much to prove in 2024. With the emergence of Moto 3 and Moto 2 champion Pedro Acosta, both riders may not have space in 2025.

The favorite - Francesco Bagnaia - you cannot look further than Bagnaia for the title. He has the machinery and the skill to take a third world-title in a row. Surely injury is the only thing that could end his chances?

The closest challenger - Jorge Martin - Jorge pushed Bagnaia to the last race and nearly created an embarrassing headache for Ducati, by pushing a satellite bike to nearly beat a factory machine. A strong season should see Martin gain a factory ride in 2025.

One to watch - Pedro Acosta - this was nearly Marc Marquez as his season will be fascinating, but a lot of talk in the paddock is about Acosta and how quickly he is adapting to Moto GP gave Acosta the spot. Early season will likely be a struggle, but it will be interesting to see how Pedro progresses throughout the season.

The outsiders - Fabio Di Giannantonio and Marco Bezzecchi - with these two I couldn’t decide so I went for both! Marco started the season well and was in championship contention until his season fizzled out with a few too many heavy crashes. Fabio was under huge pressure for a MotoGP ride and while he couldn’t retain his Gresini seat, he bagged a maiden top class win alongside some good, consistent form to pick up a seat with Bezzecchi at the VR46 racing team.

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