MotoGP Resumes This Weekend!

Francesco "Pecco" Bagnaia is the rider to beat in 2023, having won the title for Ducati last season and shining in pre-season testing. Credit: Ducati

Roadracing fans, get ready. MotoGP is back for 2023, starting with the Portuguese GP this weekend, at Algarve circuit.

“Wait!” you shout. “Shouldn’t the season start under the lights at Qatar, as we always do? What happened to our nighttime desert racing?”

This year, Losail circuit is undergoing maintenance, so we’re kicking things off in Portugal.

Going into the 2023 campaign, we don’t see a lot of high-profile drama—yet. There have been no major injuries to the series stars. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) is recovering from surgery on his right forearm, but aside from that, it seems all the big names are healthy ahead of this weekend’s racing (and we expect him to race as well).

When the riding starts, Francesco Bagnaia will be the defending champ after winning the title for Ducati last season. His closest competition will probably be Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) and Marc Marquez (Honda). But some of the off-season moves could result in surprising successes this year. Joan Mir is now Marc Marquez’s teammate on the Honda factory squad, after Suzuki left the series at end of 2022. Mir won the title for Suzuki in 2020; while that was admittedly a weaker year for the series, he is obviously a threat. Jack Miller is now at KTM, with Brad Binder, and we may see a breakout there this year as well.

Or maybe not. It’s pretty hard to bet against someone from the Ducati-Honda-Yamaha triangle taking the title. At the Portimao off-season GP test, Ducati’s Bagnaia topped the timesheets for both P1 and P2, so he’s definitely still on top of his game and the man to beat in 2023.

2023 MotoGP Teams and Riders

TEAM Rider 1 Rider 2
Ducati Lenovo factory team Francesco Bagnaia Enea Bastianini
Monster Energy Yamaha factory team Fabio Quartararo Franco Morbidelli
Aprilia Racing factory team Aleix Espargaro Maverick Vinales
Red Bull KTM factory team Brad Binder Jack Miller
Repsol Honda factory team Marc Marquez Joan Mir
Gresini Ducati Alex Marquez Fabio Di Giannantonio
LCR Honda Alex Rins Takaaki Nakagami
CryptoDATA RNF Racing Aprilia Miguel Oliveira Raul Fernandez
Mooney R46 Racing Team Ducati Luca Marini Marco Bezzecchi
GasGas Factory Racing Tech3 Pol Espargaro Augusto Fernandez
Prima Pramac Racing Ducati Jorge Martin Johann Zarco


Along with Miller to KTM, Mir to Honda and his ex-Suzuki teammate Alex Rins to LCR Honda, we see Ducati has hired Enea Bastianini to replace Miller. Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez moved to Aprilia’s RNF satellite team, leaving KTM. Tech3 is now officially a GasGas “factory team” (really, a re-painted KTM), and Augusto Fernandez (last year’s Moto2 champ) was promoted to a spot there. He’ll ride alongside Pol Espargaro.

The job opening that Rins took at Honda was available because Alex Marquez moved to Gresini Ducati, to take Bastianini’s seat.

So, quite a bit of a shuffle this year, and no doubt some riders will still be adapting to their new bikes this weekend.

As far as rulebook and schedule changes: There’s a ban on adjustable ride height devices this year, which allow changes mid-lap, but the single-use holeshot devices are still allowed. There are no major changes to engine or aero regs this year.

And as far as the schedule: Obviously, skipping Qatar until November (it’s second-last on this year’s schedule) is big news. There’s also a first-time visit to Kazakhstan on July 8, which surely has to rank high among all-time head-scratching decisions from Dorna, seeing the country has a population of 19 million. Obviously, there’s more going on here than meets the eye, as the US market would have far more money and almost certainly more visitors, if a second GP was added there. There are several other countries that would also seem more sensible than Kazakhstan, despite the country’s shiny new stadium and resource wealth. Perhaps it is intended to serve a similar role as Qatar, to a similar clientele.

There’s also a visit to Buddh Circuit in India on September 23, which is probably going to be one of the biggest events in this series in years to come.

That makes for an all-time high of 21 races in 18 different countries this year, with Finland once again notably absent. The money behind the KymiRing and the Finnish GP has reportedly collapsed, so do not expect this to happen in 2024 either.

Want to watch the action this weekend? As it has been the past few years, your best bet for an uninterrupted race is through MotoGP’s own online viewing service. NBC Sports will be showing MotoGP, but the vagaries of television broadcast mean that online viewing from Dorna themselves is always superior. Head to for more details.

2023 MotoGP Race Schedule

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
(subject to homologation)
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
(subject to homologation)
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


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