2022, a motorcycling year in review - Alex Whitworth

Alex looks back at 2022, remembering some of the memorable events and motorcycle sporting moments of the last 12-months, and looking ahead to 2023.

Francesco Bagnaia, 2022 British Grand Prix. - Gold and Goose

2022 has been a particular year, and it’s difficult, really, to summarise it, since a lot has happened. 

Realistically, as the person at Visordown who has not yet actually done a test or review of any kind since they joined at the end of February, my ‘year in review’ article has a pretty limited scope. For example, when Toad wrote his equivalent he included the best race track he’d been to, his favourite launch, his favourite road trip. For me, there was comparatively less of that. But, anyway, here we go.

Looking back at it, 2022 was my sixth year of writing about motorcycles in some way but also the first one that I’d been paid to do so. That will probably seem more important when I look back in years to come, but for now other things trump it.

Best event attended - 2022 MotoGP British Grand Prix

Credit: Gold and Goose


If you go to a MotoGP race it is often hard to beat that for a weekend. I’d been to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix before, in 2013 and 2016, but then it was held in September and I spent the entire weekend on both occasions trying to ignore the cold.

In comparison, the 2022 event was held in the head of early August, and it was a lot of fun. Since the only other race track I visited this year was Donington for WorldSBK, Silverstone also wins my highly coveted ‘favourite race track’ award for this year. Sure, Donington has better viewing, but the riders enjoy Silverstone more, which in turn makes the racing more enjoyable to watch.

This year’s race was also the first MotoGP I had worked at, so that felt like something quite important. 

But, much more important than that was the racing itself, and the premier class race was won by eventual 2022 MotoGP World Champion Francesco Bagnaia. 

Credit: Gold and Goose

At the time, the Italian was in the middle of his four-race win streak and, just as in Austria before the summer break, he won without having the best pace. Instead, Bagnaia used his brain to out-think his rivals, manage the tyre better than them, and then got lucky with a mistake from Maverick Vinales at turn one on the final lap. 

That win was one of the finest of Bagnaia’s season and career; that his wins in Misano and Sepang were arguably more impressive is more a sign of the quality of those wins and the opposition he had to overcome to achieve them than a negative mark against the British triumph. (That also pushes into something to look forward to in 2023, but we’ll get to that.)

Credit: Gold and Goose

Alonso Lopez also impressed at Silverstone, and looked for a while like he would be able to take a maiden Grand Prix victory, only to be denied in the end by Augusto Fernandez, the eventual 2022 Moto2 World Champion. 

Lopez would get his win a few weeks later in Misano in a dominant performance that he would repeat in Phillip Island in October.

Images courtesy of Gold and Goose.

Best sporting moment - AMA 450MX/MX2 World Championship title deciders

Credit: Yamaha Racing

Since Toad already has Alex Rins’ win in Phillip Island down as his sporting moment of 2022, I’ll go somewhere else. 

In fact, I’ll go to two places at the same time. In September, specifically on the weekend of 2-4 September, the MX2 World Championship was decided, and so was the AMA Pro Motocross 450MX title. 

Credit: Yamaha Racing

The 450MX title decider has already been written about to some extent in the recent ‘top five motorcycle racing championship deciders’ article, but it really was a special event. The mistakes from Chase Sexton, the relative perfection from Eli Tomac, the pure speed in response to his own mistakes from Sexton. It was all there in Pala, and the context of the season-long title fight that had led to that point, as well as the contrasting contexts of the two riders’ respective careers meant the tension and excitement were all-time. 

Also, in comparison to BSB’s (now discarded) Showdown system that had been in-place since 2010 the satisfaction of an organically created title showdown with only a handful of points separating the two contenders was notable. 

About 12 hours after Tomac had secured the 450MX title in California, Jago Geerts and Tom Vialle fought the final MX2 World Championship motos of the season in Afyonkarahisar in Turkiye. 

Tom Vialle, Jago Geerts, 2022 MXGP of Turkiye. - Ray Archer/KTM Media

This was a repeat of the battle from 2020, with the two taking a year ‘out’ from their rivalry as Vialle battled injury and Geerts struggled for form in 2021, when Maxime Renaux won the title. 

It was fully back on between the Frenchman Vialle and the Belgian Geerts in 2022, though, with Vialle struggling to find form on the new-generation KTM in the first part of the season and Yamaha's Geerts allowing him back into the fight with his own mistakes. Mostly, though Geerts was much more solid than he had been in 2020. 

MX2 race start, 2022 MXGP of Charente Maritime. - Ray Archer/KTM Media.

At least, he was until the final two rounds. Entering the penultimate round in Charente Maritime (St. Jean d’Angely), Vialle trailled Geerts by 15 points, but mistakes from the Belgian saw him drop 13 in Vialle’s final home Grand Prix before moving to America for 2023. 

Finishing third in race two at St. Jean, Tom Guyon would have had his first Grand Prix overall podium finish at his home race had Geerts dropped another two points, which in turn would have seen him enter the final round in Turkiye level on points with Vialle. 

MX2 race start, 2022 MXGP of Turkiye. - Ray Archer/KTM Media.

As it was, the two title combatants arrived in Afyonkarahisar two points apart in Geerts’ favour, and once again it was crashes from (mostly) Geerts that decided the Grand Prix and the world title in Vialle’s favour. (Mostly, because perhaps the most memorable moment of the entire weekend in Turkiye was Vialle going down in a rut while leading, and Geerts having nowhere to go, because he followed. Somehow, Vialle benefitted from his own crash.)

The MX2 World Championship was the third top-level motocross title to be decided at the final round of a championship in two years after the 2021 MXGP decider in Mantova between Jeffrey Herlings and Romain Febvre. It seems unlikely that such a period of competition will last much longer, or happen again any time soon, so the feeling of experiencing both of these races on the same weekend, only a few hours (and a sleep) apart, was probably something that won’t happen again and therefore becomes the most special sporting moment of the year.

Bike I’m most looking forward to in 2023 - Triumph ???

Credit: Triumph

I won’t ride it in all likelihood, but the Triumph motocross bike is the most exciting thing for me to look forward to because, if nothing else, it is something totally new, at least for Triumph. 

It is uncertain yet whether the plan of the racing teams to compete in only the 250 class - both in the World Championship and in the US - will be reflected in the production bikes, meaning we don’t know yet whether the 450 will be unveiled in 2023 or just the 250; and we still don’t know what the bikes will be called. 

However, manufacturers entering new disciplines and championships is as exciting as manufacturers leaving disciplines and championships is disappointing. 

The thing(s) I am most excited to see in motorcycle racing in 2023 - Ducati, and other bits

Credit: Gold and Goose

Mostly, I am most excited to see how Francesco Bagnaia and Enea Bastianini mesh in the factory Ducati MotoGP team. It seems that any number of possibilities are possible, but Bagnaia’s apparent serenity and ability to be honest with himself should stand him - and his team - in good stead when Bastianini comes in and is inevitably faster than him at some point between February and June. 

However, elsewhere there are also curiosities, such as BSB’s new points system where some races count for more than others; whether a solution can be found to the strength of the WorldSBK Ducati in a straight line; how the SuperMotocross World Championship (a terrible name) will work in its first year; how the World Supercross Championship will grow in its second year; and whether Ken Roczen will be able to win for Suzuki.

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