Everything we know about the 2023 MotoGP season: Riders, bikes, tracks and more

The 2023 MotoGP season is almost upon us, with one of the biggest shake-ups in the series’ history ahead. Find out all you need to know about calendars, sprint races, teams, bikes and more.

Everything we know about the 2023 MotoGP season: Riders, bikes, tracks and more

The 2022 MotoGP season concluded with Francesco Bagnaia and Ducati claiming an historic title, ending a 15-year wait for the Italian manufacturer as Bagnaia became the first rider ever to overturn a 91-point deficit to claim the championship.

Last year marked the end of a period of reasonable stability for MotoGP, with 2023 ushering in one of the biggest wholesale changes seen for many years as sprint races come in to shake-up race weekends.

There have been some major rider moves too, as Suzuki’s shock decision to quit the series left 2020 world champion Joan Mir and multiple race-winning team-mate Alex Rins looking for seats.

Honda, KTM and Ducati have all seen big changes to their line-ups for 2023, with only one rookie joining the fold for the new season in the form of reigning Moto2 world champion Augusto Fernandez.

The race calendar has expanded to compliment the addition of sprint races, with new races in Kazakhstan and India swelling the schedule a record 21 rounds.

Here’s everything we know about the 2023 MotoGP season.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

2023 MotoGP rider and team line-up

TEAM

Rider 1

Rider 2

Ducati factory team

Francesco Bagnaia

Enea Bastianini

Yamaha factory team

Fabio Quartararo

Franco Morbidelli

Aprilia factory team

Aleix Espargaro

Maverick Vinales

KTM factory team

Brad Binder

Jack Miller

Honda factory team

Marc Marquez

Joan Mir

Gresini Ducati

Alex Marquez

Fabio Di Giannantonio

LCR Honda

Alex Rins

Takaaki Nakagami

RNF Racing Aprilia

Miguel Oliveira

Raul Fernandez

VR46 Racing Team Ducati

Luca Marini

Marco Bezzecchi

Tech3 GasGas Factory Racing

Pol Espargaro

Augusto Fernandez

Pramac Racing Ducati

Jorge Martin

Johann Zarco

MotoGP world champions Ducati will retain Francesco Bagnaia (who has yet to decide whether he will run the #1 plate or stick with #63), and has signed four-time race winner Enea Bastianini from the Gresini satellite squad.

Bastianini replaces Jack Miller, who – after five years as a Ducati rider – moves to the factory KTM squad alongside Brad Binder. Miller was offered a one-year deal to go back to Pramac by Ducati, but turned this down for a two-season contract with KTM.

Yamaha fields an unchanged line-up for 2023 after 2021 world champion Fabio Quartararo signed a two-year deal to remain to the end of 2024, while Franco Morbidelli already had a two-year contract that takes him through to the end of this season.

Yamaha will only have two bikes on the grid this year, as RNF Racing has switched to being an Aprilia satellite squad. RNF owner and team boss Razlan Razali says this decision was motivated by Yamaha not giving him a multi-year deal.

RNF’s line-up has been revamped after a miserable 2022 in which it scored just 37 points, with Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez coming in from KTM.

At Tech3, where Fernandez raced his rookie campaign in 2022, the satellite outfit has been rebranded as GasGas Factory Racing – a sister company of KTM, though the bike is just a badged KTM RC16. Pol Espargaro returns to KTM with Tech3 (where he made his MotoGP debut in 2014 on a Yamaha) after two unsuccessful years at Honda, while reigning Moto2 world champion Augusto Fernandez (no relation to Raul) joins him.

As Honda looks to end its win drought, having registered its second winless campaign in three years in 2022, six-time premier class world champion Marc Marquez will be partnered by Suzuki refugee Joan Mir. At LCR, Alex Rins has joined Honda to partner Takaaki Nakagami.

Rins has taken Alex Marquez’s place, with the younger brother of Marc moving to replace Bastianini at the Gresini Ducati team. Fabio Di Giannantonio remains a Gresini rider, with the VR46 and Pramac Ducati line-ups of Luca Marini/Marco Bezzecchi and Jorge Martin/Johann Zarco unchanged for 2022.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing, Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing, Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Yamaha MotoGP

2023 MotoGP team launch dates

Unlike in other motorsport series such as Formula 1, MotoGP team launches are purely livery reveals, and take place before and after pre-season testing on February 10-12 in Malaysia and 11-12 March in Portugal.

Here is the list of launch dates so far:

Team

Date

Yamaha factory team

17 January

Gresini Racing Ducati

21 January

Ducati factory team

23 January

Pramac Racing Ducati

25 January

KTM factory team

26 January

Honda factory team

23 February

Tech3 GasGas Factory Racing

4 March

Aprilia factory racing

10 March

RNF Racing Aprilia

16 March

LCR Honda

7 March

VR46 Racing Team Ducati

TBC

2023 MotoGP bike – stats, design and speed

Technical regulations remain fairly stable for the 2023 MotoGP season, with only one significant change being made.

The advent of ride height and holeshot devices has led to much debate amongst riders and manufacturers about the necessity of these developments and their safety.

After manufacturers agreed five-to-one last year, front ride height devices have been outlawed. Front holeshot devices, which can be used to help acceleration off the line at the start of races, will remain – but front ride height devices that can be adjusted during a lap are banned.

This was a move met with major criticism from Ducati, who pioneered MotoGP’s ride height device technical battleground.

Enea Bastianini, Ducati Team

Enea Bastianini, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

With technical regulations in MotoGP generally tighter than in other motorsport series in a bid to keep the field closely matched, manufacturers have had to think outside of the box for gains.

In the aerodynamics department, manufacturers started to experiment with rear-mounted winglets on their motorcycles to help with braking stability. These first appeared on Ducatis at the British Grand Prix, with rivals since then testing their own variations. Most bikes are expected to feature some evolution of this across pre-season testing this year.

As has been the case in previous years, aerodynamic fairing upgrades on the front of the bike are limited to just one change per season. One design can be homologated for the start of the season by teams, with a second allowed at another point during the year. Thus, only two designs can be raced during the season.

This is to keep costs down, as aerodynamic development has the tendency to become exceedingly expensive – though this hasn’t stopped KTM from utilising its Red Bull ties to work with the F1 team at Milton Keynes on development of its aerodynamics.

Engine development also remains frozen for the season. Manufacturers can build new motors for the start of the season, but these designs must be homologated prior to the first round of the campaign and cannot be unsealed – save for safety reasons if approved by the technical director – across the year.

For the first time since the CRT ruleset of 2012, no manufacturer will have any special dispensation within the regulations to run to different rules. This was previously known as concessions, with Aprilia the final team to have run under such conditions prior to its successful 2022: before it met a certain results-based threshold, Aprilia was permitted to nine engines per season instead of seven, and was free to develop its motor in-seasons and could test freely with its race riders. It also had unlimited aero package changes it could make.

Engine regulations remain stable for 2023, with manufacturers permitted to build 1000cc four-stroke, naturally aspirated engines. Manufacturers are allowed to choose the layout of its engines, with Ducati, Aprilia, Honda and KTM utilising a V4 layout, while Yamaha uses an inline-four layout.

The former is generally a slightly more powerful engine specification, though the inline-four is narrower – which allows for a more agile bike design compared to the largely stop-and-go style needed to ride a V4 layout. Bikes are capable of speeds well above 200mph now, with MotoGP’s top speed record standing at 363.6km/h (225.744mph).

Kazakhstan track for 2023 MotoGP season

Kazakhstan track for 2023 MotoGP season

Photo by: MotoGP

2023 MotoGP calendar

Date

Race

Venue

24-26 March

Portuguese GP

Algarve International Circuit

31 March – 2 April

Argentine GP

Termas de Rio Hondo

14-16 April

Americas GP

COTA

28-30 April

Spanish GP

Jerez

12-14 May

French GP

Le Mans

9-11 June

Italian GP

Mugello

16-18 June

German GP

Sachsenring

23-25 June

Dutch GP

Assen

7-9 July

Kazakhstan GP*

Sokol International RaceTrack

4-6 August

British GP

Silverstone

18-20 August

Austrian GP

Red Bull Ring

1-3 September

Catalan GP

Barcelona

8-10 September

San Marino GP

Misano

22-24 September

Indian GP*

Buddh International Circuit

29 September – 1 October

Japanese GP

Motegi

13-15 October

Indonesian GP

Mandalika

20-22 October

Australian GP

Phillip Island

27-29 October

Thailand GP

Buriram

10-12 November

Malaysian GP

Sepang

17-19 November

Qatar GP**

Losail

24-26 November

Valencia GP

Ricardo Tormo

*Subject to homologation

**Night race

The 2023 MotoGP season is the set to be the longest in the series’ history at 21 rounds.

For the first time since the 2006 season, the championship is scheduled to start in Europe on 26 March with the Portuguese GP. (MotoGP did start at Jerez with the Spanish GP in 2020, but technically Qatar still counts as the first event of the season as Moto2 and Moto3 raced there before the COVID shutdown).

The French GP on 14 May is set to mark the 1000th grand prix in MotoGP history, while two new venues are pencilled in to make their debut.

The inaugural Kazakhstan GP is set for 9 July at the new Sokol International RaceTrack, while former F1 venue Buddh International in India is set to welcome MotoGP for the first time on 24 September. If both go ahead, they will become the 74th and 75th venues to have staged a grand prix in MotoGP.

For the first time since 2009, Aragon does not have a slot on the calendar, with the five races on the Iberian Peninsula (Jerez, Catalunya, Aragon, Valencia and Portugal) set to be alternated over the next few years. Aragon previously hosted races uninterrupted between 2010 and 2022.

The traditional night time opener in Qatar could not go ahead this year due to Losail undergoing circuit upgrades ahead of F1’s return. As a result, Qatar will be the penultimate round of the MotoGP season in 2023.

MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 will race at all venues in 2023.

Alex Rins, Team LCR Honda

Alex Rins, Team LCR Honda

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

When is MotoGP pre-season testing?

MotoGP already has one day of pre-season testing for 2023 immediately after the Valencia Grand Prix last November.

There are two official tests scheduled for the pre-season of 2023, with a three-day shakedown for rookies and test riders up first from 5-7 February at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.

The first official pre-season test of the year then gets underway on 10-12 February at the same venue, before the paddock reconvenes in Portugal at the Algarve circuit two weeks before the season starts there for two days of testing on 11-12 March.

There is one in-season test day taking place this year, on 11 September on the Monday directly after the San Marino GP at Misano. A day of testing will also take place on the Tuesday after the Valencia GP.

2023 MotoGP rule changes

There have been a number of smaller rule changes for the 2023 season, but the most significant change that will have a massive impact on the championship is the introduction of sprint races.

In a bid to make the show more exciting, MotoGP announced last year that from 2023 a half-distance sprint race will take place on the Saturday of every grand prix weekend this season.

The sprint race will run to 50% of the distance of Sunday’s main race, with the grid decided by a qualifying session taking place on the Saturday morning.

Half-points will be awarded from first to ninth in the sprint race, with the result having no bearing on the grid for the main grand prix. Sprint results will be counted separately in the statistics to the main race.

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