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MotoGP Sepang February Testing

MotoGP pre-season testing 2023: Everything you need to know

The 2023 MotoGP pre-season concludes on 11-12 March with the final of two tests before the campaign gets underway om 26 March. Here’s everything you need to know.

Michele Pirro. Ducati Team

Like in recent years, there will be just two pre-season tests prior to the start of the 2023 season: one in Malaysia on 10-12 February, and one in Portugal on 11-12 March.

As has been the case since 2021, there are just five days of official pre-season running permitted before the new campaign gets underway.

The Sepang test in February marked the first time the entire MotoGP grid has assembled since the post-race one-day test in Valencia last November.

Who is riding in the Portugal MotoGP test?

Team

Rider 1

Rider 2

Test rider

Yamaha

Fabio Quartararo

Franco Morbidelli

 

Honda

Marc Marquez

Joan Mir Stefan Bradl

Ducati

Francesco Bagnaia

Enea Bastianini

Michele Pirro

KTM

Brad Binder

Jack Miller

 

Aprilia

Aleix Espargaro

Maverick Vinales

 

Pramac Ducati

Jorge Martin

Johann Zarco

 

Gresini Ducati

Alex Marquez

Fabio Di Giannantonio

 

Tech3 GasGas

Pol Espargaro

Augusto Fernandez

 

VR46 Ducati

Luca Marini

Marco Bezzecchi

 

LCR Honda

Alex Rins

Takaaki Nakagami

 

RNF Aprilia

Miguel Oliveira

Raul Fernandez

 

Unlike in Formula 1 pre-season testing, both riders from each team – as well as test riders when required – will take to the track at the same time, rather than sharing machinery.

Riders will have multiple bikes at their disposal during the test to try out various updates.

Ducati topped all three days of the 2023 Sepang test, with VR46's Luca Marini fastest overall from reigning world champion Francesco Bagnaia on the factory team Ducati.

Augusto Fernandez, GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3

Augusto Fernandez, GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3

Photo by: Dorna

Where is MotoGP pre-season testing in 2023?

There are two tests split by a month this winter, ahead of the 2023 season starting on 26 March with the Portuguese Grand Prix.

The first official three-day test took place at Malaysian GP venue Sepang on Friday 10 February to Sunday 12 February.

A final two-day test now follows at Portimao on Saturday 11 March to Sunday 12 March, with the season beginning two weeks later.

There will be one day of in-season testing in 2023, taking place after the San Marino GP in September on the Monday after the race, while there will be one day of running on the Tuesday following the Valencia GP finale in November.

What is new in MotoGP 2023?

Technical rules remain largely stable for the 2023 season, with the most notable change in this respect coming in the form of the banning of front ride height devices that can be operated during a lap.

Another change that will have more of a bearing on racing this year is the enforcement of a minimum front tyre pressure, which could lead to more races being characterised by crashes. Front tyre pressures were monitored in 2022, but a grey area in the rules meant a number of teams were operating outside of this.

The biggest shake-up for 2023 is the introduction of sprint races, but this won’t be trialled during the pre-season tests.

What should I look out for in MotoGP pre-season testing?

There will be two major talking points likely to dominate pre-season testing in 2023.

The first concerns Yamaha and its new engine. Top speed has been a problem for Yamaha in recent years and all of its riders have made calls to the marque to build a more powerful engine.

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Dorna

It has been working with ex-Ferrari F1 engine chief Luca Marmorini to improve its engine, though the latest evolution seemingly didn’t offer the gains Yamaha had hoped at the Valencia test last November.

Insight: Who needs a big year in MotoGP in 2023?

However, speed trap figures at the Sepang test have shown a decent step forward for Yamaha, though Fabio Quartararo cautioned that the bike was "a nightmare" to ride in qualifying trim.

The second key storyline from testing will be the progress Honda has made with its bike. Enduring its second winless campaign in three years in 2022, Honda has a lot of work to do to lift itself out of last in the manufacturers’ table.

It’s also a key year for Honda, as its prized asset in Marc Marquez told Autosport last November that he is open to looking at other options for his future if Honda cannot build him a bike he can win the championship on.

Opinion: Why MotoGP's first pre-season test of 2023 will decide Marquez and Honda's future

Though Marquez is contracted until the end of 2024, a deal for 2025 and beyond will likely be negotiated well in advance of that. And so, Honda must turn things around quickly if it hopes to keep Marquez for more years.

It endured a difficult Sepang test, with both Marquez and Joan Mir admitting the RC213V is "still far away" from being competitive.

How can I follow MotoGP testing in 2023?

There is no dedicated live coverage of pre-season testing for MotoGP, though Dorna Sports’ video pass will have regular video updates and a live post-test show each day.

You can also follow all of the major news stories from testing on Autosport.com.

Michele Pirro, Ducati Team

Michele Pirro, Ducati Team

Photo by: Dorna

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