Why a MotoGP rookie's Czech GP win wasn't a total shock
On a landmark day for his Austrian manufacturer, KTM rider Brad Binder became the latest new MotoGP winner in 2020. But while the result might have been unexpected, the combination's potential was clear to see if you knew where to look
Few would have predicted that just three races into his MotoGP career at the Czech Grand Prix, KTM factory rider Brad Binder (who turns 25 on Tuesday) would have stood atop the podium as a race winner. Not least when you consider he ended his first proper test on the RC16 at Valencia last November some 2.1 seconds off the pace in last.
The bike he is riding now has made a significant step forward from the 2019 version on which he began his MotoGP acclimatisation, but to make such an impact so early on amid arguably the most competitive premier class grid ever assembled would have been completely unrealistic to expect.
Reigning MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo had a 91-point lead over rival Francesco Bagnaia after the German Grand Prix, a seemingly impregnable gap to overcome in the remaining 10 races. But as the Frenchman struggled for pace with his Yamaha, Bagnaia stormed back into contention and swept to Ducati's first riders' title since 2007
After a run on Honda's 2023 prototype MotoGP bike, six-time champion Marc Marquez made his pessimism clear with his initial reaction. But the Japanese marque has made leadership changes behind closed doors - and a more representative bike promised for the Malaysia test in February could placate Marquez
While new MotoGP champion Francesco Bagnaia might not be the loudest rider on the grid, his calm exterior belies a steely backbone. His part in turning around Ducati's fortunes at the start of the year, when displeased with a new engine concept, shows the strength of his character
OPINION: Despite the superiority exhibited by the Ducati in 2022, the context in which Francesco Bagnaia became MotoGP world champion means that both the rider and the Italian marque merit the same recognition that the brand and Casey Stoner received after their 2007 title
OPINION: MotoGP’s fifth last round showdown of the modern era delivered a tense finale despite the predictable outcome, as Francesco Bagnaia ended 15 years of pain for Ducati. But as emotions ran high for the Italian marque, a final victory for a departing Japanese rival tinged the campaign’s conclusion with sadness
Since Ducati announced the arrival of Enea Bastianini to its factory team for 2023, the staging of the four-time race winner has strained the atmosphere within the Italian manufacturer, which has raised its guard in anticipation of what may happen between him and championship favourite Francesco Bagnaia
Yamaha's decision to dispense pre-season with the 2022 engine it had intended to use due to lack of reliability, the promises of improvement to Fabio Quartararo and the advance with which the rider market moves leaves the Japanese brand with less than six months to prevent the Frenchman from starting to look for a way out
Dovizioso: Past Ducati set-ups not working on new MotoGP bike
KTM says first MotoGP win didn't come "by accident"