2023 MotoGP | Who is confirmed, who is rumoured, who is in and who could be out?

With many seats for the 2023 MotoGP season still up for grabs and with no clear steer on the title race after five races, is a big grid shake-up on the way?

Portuguese MotoGP, Portimao, start, 2023 MotoGP

The 2022 MotoGP World Championship is in full swing with five rounds delivering varying degrees of fortune for the leading protagonists.

With four different race winners and no one rider breaking away from the main pack, for now there is no clear steer on who will emerge on top come the final round at Valencia in November.

The shifting sands of momentum come at a particularly interesting time for the field as contract negotiations for the 2023 MotoGP World Championship continue behind the scenes. With MotoGP’s traditional two-year contract cycle meaning the majority of the field remains unsigned for 2023, the opening rounds of 2022 hold greater weight than usual.

As such, it is unusual to be this deep into a season and have only four riders - Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), Brad Binder (KTM), Franco Morbidelli (Yamaha), Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati) - locked and sealed into 2023 deals.

It means there are seats and riders up for grabs… but who is being tipped for where?


What a difference a fortnight can make! Having languished towards the bottom end of the top ten in Argentina and the USA, short odds were being taken on Fabio Quartararo exiting the Yamaha team in a fit of frustration that he couldn’t take the fight to his rivals on the underpowered M1.

Then he showed up at Portimao and blew everyone away with a victory more dominant than has been witnessed for some time. While the Frenchman still has to work hard to get everything to align - ie. qualify up at the front and start well so as not to get beaten up in the pack - in clear air, few can rival his fluidity and poise.

Prior to the weekend, Quartararo’s resigned appraisal of the Yamaha and its limitations read as an indication he wanted out, while quotes erred towards strong speculation he had been in discussion with Honda about a potential move.

In reality, Quartararo wants to stay at the manufacturer that helped him to the 2021 MotoGP title, but needed assurance the M1 and its development strategy was good enough to keep him in the mix. His Portimao march was a good step back in Yamaha’s direction and with Jerez a happy hunting ground for both him and the team, it could be the catalyst to get signature on paper.

If he does depart, Yamaha’s ‘next-in-line’ is primed to be Toprak Razgatlioglu. The Turkish rider is a Yamaha darling following his 2021 WorldSBK title win, though his inexperience on the M1 - or any MotoGP machine - means filling a World Champion’s shoes amounts to a lot of pressure for both parties.

Razgatlioglu’s manager Kenan Sofuoglu has made it clear he doesn’t want his rider following a satellite route to MotoGP via RNF Racing, but with the confirmed Franco Morbidelli struggling for form on the sister M1, Razgatlioglu might represent too much of a risk for the outfit.

Meanwhile at RNF Yamaha, Andrea Dovizioso’s extended stay in MotoGP appears under threat as he struggles to find his groove on the satellite M1. While the experienced 14-time race winner has largely had the measure of Morbidelli, he has fallen well below the pre-season expectation of top five results, while the man himself hasn’t been terribly flattering about the situation in the press.

Rumour has it Yamaha is still chasing hard after Raul Fernandez, who has previously made no secret of a desire to jump from KTM. Meanwhile, Darryn Binder’s eye-catching performances in Qatar and Indonesia have faded, but the South African has still made a positive impression amid scrutiny over his Moto3 to MotoGP leap and appears worth investing beyond 2022.


It may have eight seats to play with, but Ducati is facing a dilemma in determining its 2023 MotoGP line-up.

Currently, Pecco Bagnaia is locked in, which is fortunate for the Italian as his iffy form and growing litany of errors so far this year might have made Ducati pause had it not re-signed him so early.

As for his factory team-mate, Jorge Martin was the long-time assumed frontrunner to replace Jack Miller - who hasn’t sparkled in red since joining - before Enea Bastianini came bursting out of the blocks and landed two excellent victories.

Paddock speculation suggests Ducati will maintain the hierarchy of their current positions by promoting Martin to the factory team and bringing Bastianini into Pramac Racing, which by all accounts can be regarded as a second works effort in terms of machinery and resources.

However, after a third crash in five races for the Spaniard, Ducati might feel more comfortable waiting a few more rounds before making its final decision.

As for Miller, he remains popular among Ducati top brass who believe he still has potential to fulfil, so a return to Pramac is anticipated too. While it is possible Bastianini will be lured away by a rival factory team if he doesn’t get to throw a leg over the scarlet Desmo, the Italian has made it clear he is committed to Ducati, regardless of the paint job. 

If he ends up at Pramac, that spells bad news for Johann Zarco, who despite turning in more consistent results than his counterparts, remains overshadowed by his ongoing lack of race-winning silverware. 

Having found his groove on Ducati machinery following his KTM flop, Zarco will be wary of skipping manufacturers again, so might be willing to shuffle to Gresini Racing if it gets more support from the factory. Alternatively, he might look to finish what he started at Yamaha…

Elsewhere, Fabio di Giannantonio has mixed well with the other rookies so as to justify a second year on the Gresini package, while Marco Bezzecchi has also performed strongly enough on the VR46 machine to likely earn a stay of execution.

By contrast, Luca Marini hasn’t made a huge step forward in his second season and while his close family ties to the big boss would make any split rather awkward, it’ll be hard for Valentino Rossi to ignore Celestino Vietti if the Italian carries his strong form to the Moto2 title this year.


Given everything that has happened over the past couple of years, it is easy to forget Marc Marquez is still only half-way through the long-term Repsol Honda deal penned in 2019 that runs right to the end of 2024.

Physical issues aside, Marquez won’t be going anywhere but the seat alongside him at HRC remains up for grabs.

While he has certainly given a better account of himself than Jorge Lorenzo and appears to gel well in a team that for so long was built around Marquez, Pol Espargaro hasn’t quite delivered the consistency needed to make his retention a foregone conclusion.

Strong form at the top of the season has ebbed away since then with Espargaro largely mired in the mid-field, enough that Honda would be justified in replacing him if a high-profile alternative becomes available.

Indeed, it has made only modest attempts to disguise its interest in Quartararo and Joan Mir, but while both looked a realistic prospect a few rounds ago, it now appears more likely the pair will prioritise sticking with their current teams rather than take the risk of sizing up to Marquez at Honda.

Over at LCR Honda, both Alex Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami haven’t shaken off the ‘at risk’ status hanging over both coming into the season.

If only one was to go then Nakagami is most under threat, the Japanese rider struggling to pull himself out of a lull sparked by his switch up to current-spec machinery in 2021. While his association with Honda has helped him in the past, it’s also the reason why he’ll lose his seat to Japan’s next big hope, Ai Ogura.

Flashes of form aside, the younger Marquez hasn’t stamped his mark in MotoGP, but benefits from the fact LCR might prefer to keep an experienced hand alongside a rookie for 2023.

However, if LCR wants to bring in some fresh blood across the board, riders including Aron Canet and Tony Arbolino stand out, while there could be some momentum behind Jake Dixon or Joe Roberts onto the MotoGP grid by virtue of their favourable British and American nationalities.

Alternatively, LCR could morph into a full ‘Honda Team Asia’ set-up to accommodate Ogura and Somkiat Chantra, who has starred in Moto2 this season and offers up plenty of commercial appeal with his Thai origins.


With no satellite team to leverage, Suzuki has indicated its desire to retain the status quo in Joan Mir and Alex Rins.

As its 2020 MotoGP World Champion, Mir will always likely have a home at Suzuki and - despite a glance at what Honda had to offer - seems content to remain where he is to develop a GSX-RR package that clearly has plenty of untapped potential.

By contrast, Rins came into the year needing something special to convince Suzuki to keep him following an error-strewn 2021 campaign. The Spaniard has duly delivered with some sparkling performances that - after five rounds - has him sharing the overall lead with Quartararo.

As such, Suzuki appears to be the team most likely to confirm its 2023 MotoGP line-up imminently.


Having come into the season concerned it had too many options for its MotoGP seats, things have since settled down at KTM.

With Brad Binder signed and sealed for 2023 already, there had been speculation over whether Miguel Oliveira could do enough to retain his seat following a disappointing slump in form last year just as a queue of proteges formed behind him.

While Oliveira’s form remains somewhat scattergraph, his fourth career victory in Indonesia steadied the ship, as did a fighting top five finish on home soil in Portimao. 

Better still, the threat from within has weakened with neither Remy Gardner nor Raul Fernandez showing the turn of immediate pace that would make either an justifiable candidate to take his place, even if both have shown enough to warrant KTM holding them at Tech 3 for another year.

Whether Fernandez especially wants to though is a different matter, with the Spaniard still reportedly in Yamaha’s sights, while the likes of Honda might see the benefit of fostering a talent still so young.

Still, if Fernandez does want to stay, he’ll be relieved to see Pedro Acosta’s transition to Moto2 hasn’t been the immediate success many anticipated and looks increasingly unlikely to be rushed into MotoGP as a result.

With few current MotoGP riders - perhaps with the exception of Jack Miller - seeming a better fit for KTM so as to convince it to dip out of its development programme, the status quo seems most likely for 2023.


It was a long, arduous road but Aprilia has finally established itself among the upper echelon of the MotoGP fraternity.

Aleix Espargaro hinted two years ago that the 2022 MotoGP season was shaping up to be his last, but with his dogged hard work on the RS-GP through thick and thin is finally yielding rewards, it seems unlikely the Spaniard will be looking to leave, nor will Aprilia want him to.

On the other side of the garage, while Maverick Vinales has been overshadowed by Espargaro’s efforts this year, he is still enjoying a positive first full season with Aprilia with results in the ballpark of what his team-mate was enjoying in 2021.

While Aprilia might now be a more attractive proposition for a more esteemed rider, given the team’s rider selection troubles in the wake of Andrea Iannone’s doping suspension, consistency will be a blessing.