India is set to create a Sporting milestone as the Indian GP marks the culmination of years of dedicated efforts to bring top-tier international bike riders to the Buddh International Circuit for the first time.
MotoGP Bharat as the Indian Grand Prix was rechristened will be the 13th race in the 2023 circuit. The thrilling lineup of 22 riders representing 11 teams is all set to take position on the BIC grid from September 22-24. Two riders from each team will be riding the bikes provided by renowned manufacturers such as Honda, Yamaha, KTM, Ducati, and Aprilia.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
1. Fabio Quartararo (France)
Having been mightily impressive as a MotoGP rookie in 2019 and adding wins to his arsenal in 2020, Fabio Quartararo became France’s inaugural premier class World Champion in 2021. A year later, Quartararo finished runner-up following a fascinating title fight with Francesco Bagnaia that was decided at the final race of the season. 2023 hasn’t gone to plan for Quartararo and Yamaha so far as an underperforming YZR-M1 has led to the Frenchman standing on a Sunday podium just once – P3 at the Grand Prix of The Americas.
2. Franco Morbidelli (Italy)
Moving into MotoGP in 2018 as the reigning Moto2 World Champion, Morbidelli shone in 2020 when he finished runner-up in the Championship. That form saw him among the leading contenders for title glory in 2021, but a knee injury hampered his season. In the same year, Morbidelli partnered with Quartararo at Monster Energy Yamaha. A disappointing 2022 has been followed by another quiet year on an underperforming Yamaha, as Morbidelli gets ready for a fresh chapter in his career in 2024.
Ducati Lenovo Team
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Italy)
Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia arrived in MotoGP in 2019 having claimed the 2018 Moto2 title. A debut MotoGP win came at Aragon in 2021 but a title charge ultimately slipped through his fingers. However, 2022 was a different story. Despite a slow start which saw him sit 91 points behind Quartararo, Bagnaia produced a stellar second half of 2022 to ultimately put him in a position to clinch the crown at the season finale. Sporting the #1 for the 2023 season, Pecco has been the rider to beat. Five Sunday victories, including three Sprint and Race doubles, see the Italian lead the title race heading into the closing stage of the year.
2. Enea Bastianini (Italy)
Enea Bastianini, aka ‘The Beast’, won the 2020 Moto2 World Championship and quickly made a name for himself in the premier class. The Italian picked up a maiden MotoGP podium in his rookie season, and the start of his sophomore brought a debut win. Bastianini, despite being on a year-old bike at Gresini, won four races and finished third in the standings. A stunning year earned him a factory seat alongside Bagnaia for 2023, but a shoulder blade injury sustained in Portugal has hampered his year. At the Catalan GP, Bastianini injured his left ankle and hand and will unfortunately be sidelined until after the Japanese GP.
1. Aleix Espargaro (Spain)
Aged 34, Aleix Espargaro is the oldest rider on the grid as the Spaniard competes in his 13th consecutive premier class campaign. Espargaro’s debut podium came in 2014 riding an underpowered Forward Yamaha, and after two years with Suzuki, his Aprilia adventure began in 2017. Tough years unfolded until a first rostrum with Aprilia came in 2021. Then, in 2022, Espargaro won his first GP and handed Aprilia their first in MotoGP, with a hugely positive year ending with a P4 in the Championship. 2023 started slowly but Espargaro returned to winning ways with a double victory at the Catalan GP.
2. Maverick Vinales (Spain)
2013 Moto3 World Champion Maverick Viñales has been a MotoGP mainstay since 2015. The Spaniard claimed a debut win in the class at Silverstone in 2016 – Suzuki’s first win in almost a decade – before moving to Yamaha in 2017. After eight wins and plenty of podiums, Vinales’ successful relationship with Yamaha ended controversially midway through 2021 before a new chapter began at Aprilia. Vinales has four podiums so far with the Noale factory – two in 2022 and two in 2023 – as the partnership goes from strength to strength.
Repsol Honda Team
1. Marc Marquez (Spain)
At just 20 years and 266 days, Marc Marquez remains the youngest-ever premier class winner. The Spaniard is regarded as one of the GOATs and boasts eight World Championships, including six in MotoGP between 2013 and 2019. In 2020, a crash at the Spanish GP saw the #93 sustain a right humerus fracture that would keep him out of action until 2021. Four surgeries later, Marquez returned in 2023 fully fit and ready to fight for the title again. However, 2023 hasn’t gone to plan as injuries and a struggling Honda have made for a tough campaign for the elder Marquez brother.
Does a turn in fortune await?
2: Joan Mir (Spain)
Following Suzuki’s unexpected departure from MotoGP in 2022, 2020 MotoGP World Champion Joan Mir finds himself in the Repsol Honda ranks for the 2023 MotoGP season. It’s been the Spaniard’s toughest year to date as Honda’s struggles continue, with injuries blighting Mir’s first season with the iconic factory. The double World Champion will be aiming to end the season on a high ahead of 2024.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
1. Jack Miller (Australia)
Jack Miller’s rise to MotoGP is unique as the Australian jumped straight to the premier class from Moto3 in 2015. A debut win was earned in 2016 on an Independent Team Honda at Assen before Miller enjoyed a fruitful few years with Ducati – first at Prima Pramac, then in the factory set-up – before switching to Red Bull KTM Factory Racing for 2023, his third MotoGP manufacturer. Miller has tasted Sprint podium success already but awaits Sunday success in factory orange.
2. Brad Binder (South Africa)
2016 Moto3 World Champion Brad Binder is embarking on his fourth MotoGP campaign with Red Bull KTM. Having won his third-ever premier class race, a trickier than hopes couple of seasons have been endured by KTM and Binder in 2021 and 2022, but 2023 has been a welcome return to form for both rider and factory. Big things await for the South African, who will be with KTM until at least the end of 2026.
Gresini Racing MotoGP (Ducati)
1. Álex Márquez (Spain)
The younger Marquez sibling is a double World Champion in his own right, with Alex claiming the 2014 Moto3 and 2019 Moto2 titles. Back-to-back P2s came in his rookie MotoGP season with Repsol Honda, before two difficult years were experienced at LCR Honda. A fresh start at Gresini Racing was just what was needed for 2023 though, with Marquez already a Sunday podium finisher and Sprint winner in his first year with Ducati.
2. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Italy)
Joining the premier class in 2022 as a Moto3 and Moto2 race winner, Fabio Di Giannantonio’s standout moment in his rookie campaign came when he claimed the pole at his home Grand Prix at Mugello. ‘Diggia’ stayed with Gresini for 2023 and has climbed into the top 10 on five occasions on a Sunday, as the Italian eyes plenty more of those results between now and the end of the season.
Prima Pramac Racing (Ducati)
1. Johann Zarco (France)
Johann Zarco is a back-to-back Moto2 World Champion in 2015 and 2016 before the Frenchman linked up with Tech3 Yamaha in 2017 in MotoGP. After an impressive stint with Yamaha and a disappointing time at KTM in 2019, Zarco found a new home at Ducati in 2020. Now into his fourth season – his third with Prima Pramac – the #5 with the Bologna factory, Zarco has notched up 13 podiums to add to his tally of six with Yamaha. That maiden MotoGP win remains unreached, will it come before Zarco moves to Honda in 2024?
2. Jorge Martín Almoguera (Spain)
Nicknamed the ‘Martinator’, Jorge Martin rose through Moto3 – a title he won in 2018 – and Moto2 as one of the brightest young talents in the sport. Martin claimed a podium in just his second MotoGP race and despite a huge crash in Portugal that saw him miss four races, the Spaniard claimed a debut win in the same year. 2022 was a winless year, but 2023 has seen Martin become a title contender again as he aims to chase down Ducati rival Bagnaia for the crown.
Mooney VR46 Racing Team (Ducati)
1. Luca Marini (Italy)
Luca Marini, the half-brother of MotoGP Legend Valentino Rossi, made his Grand Prix debut as a Moto3 wildcard in 2013, before he joined Moto2 full-time in 2016. Marini’s breakthrough season was in 2018, as six Moto2 wins came his way between then and 2020 ahead of a move to MotoGP in 2020. In 2023, Marini claimed his first MotoGP Sunday podium at the Americas GP and has become a regular top-six finisher with the Mooney VR46 Racing Team.
2. Marco Bezzecchi (Italy)
A Moto3 title contender in 2018, Marco Bezzecchi jumped to MotoGP after an impressive Moto2 season in 2020 and 2021. A Rookie of the Year campaign followed in 2022, as Bezzecchi announced himself as a title contender in 2023 with two wins in the first five races. The Italian has been a standout performer so far this season, and although a tough ask, Bezzecchi could end the year as a World Champion.
RNF MotoGP Team (Aprilia)
1. Miguel Oliveira (Portugal)
Acting as Portugal’s first-ever premier class race winner, Miguel Oliveira is one of the fastest riders on the grid to have never won a World Championship. Coming close in Moto3 and Moto2, Oliveira bagged a debut MotoGP win in 2020 to hand Tech3 their first win in over 20 years. Later that year he won the Portuguese GP, and having won three more times in 2021 and 2022 with Red Bull KTM, Oliveira started a new adventure with CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team for 2023. It’s been a luckless year so far for the #88, but there have been several glimpses of Oliveira’s true potential. There’s plenty more to come for Oliveira and Aprilia.
2. Raul Fernandez (Spain)
Raul Fernandez made a name for himself in the 2020 Moto3 World Championship ahead of a record-breaking debut season in Moto2 in 2021. Having just missed out on the title that year, Fernandez moved to MotoGP in 2022 with Tech3 KTM. A tough debut season followed as the Spaniard moved to Aprilia’s new Independent Team for 2023 – with expectations high. Fernandez hasn’t fulfilled his potential yet in an injury-plighted year, but his speed is coming. The #25 remains one of the most exciting young riders in Grand Prix racing.
Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing (KTM)
1. Pol Espargaro (Spain)
2013 Moto2 World Champion Pol Espargaro is in his 10th campaign as a MotoGP rider, with the Spaniard having experience with Yamaha, KTM, Honda and now GASGAS. A tough couple of seasons with Repsol Honda saw the younger Espargaro sibling link back up with Tech3 for 2023, but a huge crash in Portugal’s season-opener kept the #44 sidelined until the British GP. In what’s been the toughest year of Espargaro’s career, the Spaniard has shown he’s a warrior as he hopes to add to his eight MotoGP podiums before the season ends.
2. Augusto Fernández Guerra (Spain)
Augusto Fernandez is the reigning Moto2 World Champion and is the sole rookie on the 2023 MotoGP grid. Fernandez’s standout ride so far in the premier class has been a brilliant ride to P4 at the French GP, while the Spaniard has three top 10s to his name in total – in addition to points in every race this season.
LCR Honda Castrol/Idemitsu
1. Alex Rins (Spain)
Alex Rins is a six-time MotoGP race winner, with his latest victory coming at this year’s Americas GP during his first year with Honda. Rins’ five other premier class wins came with Suzuki, while the Spaniard is also an eight-time Moto3 winner and four-time Moto2 winner. Rins’ impressive first season with Honda was halted after he suffered a broken leg at Mugello, which has ruled him out of the following five GPs. Rins will hope to rediscover his form upon his return before a move to Yamaha awaits in 2024.
2. Takaaki Nakagami (Japan)
Takaaki Nakagami moved to MotoGP in 2018 as a two-time Moto2 race winner and 14-time Grand Prix podium finisher. The Japanese rider is into his sixth season as a valued LCR Honda Idemitsu star but remains in search of his first premier-class podium.