Pramac Ducati Launches 2024 MotoGP Effort at F1 Bahrain Grand Prix

The 2024 MotoGP grid is complete following the launch of the Pramac Ducati team at the F1 Bahrain Grand Prix, sporting a different look for the new season

Prima Pramac Racing, 2024. - Pramac Racing/Facebook

Pramac Ducati has brought to a close the 2024 MotoGP launch season with an event held at the Bahrain International Circuit ahead of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Prima Pramac Racing

The Prima Pramac Racing team remains with Ducati for 2024, although it’s hard to continue referring to it as the ‘Ducati junior team’ when it has a legitimate title contender in Jorge Martin and seventh-year MotoGP rider Franco Morbidelli on its books.

Despite the retention of Ducati machinery and Prima title sponsorship, Pramac has revolutionised its look for this year, with the purple-and-white paint that has been on the bikes since Prima came in during the 2022 season replaced with a new purple, red, and black scheme. 

We reckon the old paint is better, but it has 21 races to grow on us.

The livery was revealed at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir that will host this weekend’s opening F1 Grand Prix of 2024, a race which will be won by Max Verstappen. Despite the predictability, F1 has a much bigger audience than MotoGP, so it makes sense for Pramac, which has run F1 logos on the tail of its Desmosedici GPs since 2021, to try to take advantage of that larger audience. 

Although, how much of that audience is paying attention to an event happening on a Wednesday is debatable, even if F1’s weekend schedule is moved forwards by a day in Bahrain this year to accommodate Ramadan at next week’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

With Pramac’s team launch out of the way, there is now a straight shot at the opening MotoGP race of the season - the Qatar Grand Prix in Lusail on 8-10 March.

Aprilia Racing

The factory Aprilia team has been relatively radical in its engineering approach to the 2024 MotoGP season, with numerous aerodynamic updates in particular being brought to the RS-GP.

The same cannot be said for the bike’s livery, which remains more or less the same as in the last few years, with the mostly black paint job highlighted by red and purple.

Additionally, the riders remain the same in 2024, despite speculation - already - that the same won’t be the case in a year’s time. Aleix Espargaro has won three races in the past two seasons, but has not found the consistency to mount a full championship challenge, while Maverick Vinales is yet to maximise a whole weekend as he enters his third full season in the Noale brand’s colours.

At the 2024 Aprilia Racing team launch, which took place in the paddock of the Lusail International Circuit, Aleix Espargaro said: "The growth we have shown in recent seasons has been incredible. I am proud to be part of this project that I have always defined as my second family. 

“In 2024 we will have to take another step forward, last year we lacked the consistency to fight until the end but we still proved to be a tough opponent for everyone. It won't be easy because, even if it seemed impossible, the level of MotoGP has increased further. I feel ready, physically and mentally, and I believe in the work of the Aprilia guys."

Maverick Vinales added: "Our 2023 ended on a high note and I want to continue this trend. The feeling with the team is excellent, during the winter break I prepared maniacally and I have faith in the work of Aprilia Racing. 

“If we continue to set ourselves the goal of extracting the most out of our technical package every weekend, the results will come accordingly. The first tests have confirmed the very high level of the championship, practically every rider and every bike on the grid has the chance to fight for the podium. That makes the challenge even more interesting."

LCR Honda

As has been the case since Takaaki Nakagami joined the premier class with LCR in 2018, the satellite Honda team is running two separate liveries this year, one Idemitsu-backed for Nakagami and another Castrol-backed for Johann Zarco.

Generally speaking, it’s been the Italian motorcycle equipment and clothing manufacturer Givi that has been the main sponsor of what is now Johann Zarco’s side of the garage (and was previously Alex Rins’, Alex Marquez’, and before that Cal Crutchlow’s), but that will change this year as Castrol takes the biggest space on the #5’s fairing, at least for the majority of the season.

It also means that Castrol’s colours dominate the livery, with its famous green, white and red used in a pattern not dissimilar to the one used by LCR at the British Grand Prix in 2017, and (more importantly) before that when Castrol sponsored the factory Honda World Superbike team in the mid-to-late-1990s and early-2000s. Certainly, Zarco’s is among the best-looking liveries of 2024 so far.

As for the LCR Honda Idemitsu RC213V of Takaaki Nakagami, the livery is an evolution of the last two years, with black around the front of the bike (although the ‘plate’ is white this year) and a mostly white fairing on which the red Idemitsu logo is placed.

Image credit: LCR Honda MotoGP Team/YouTube

Repsol Honda Team

The impact of Marc Marquez’ departure on the Repsol Honda Team has been known, to some degree, for a while, as it had been rumoured since the end of last year that Red Bull would leave the team - in the end, it put its money in the Red Bull GasGas Tech3 team for 2024.

The factory Honda team’s 2024 launch shows that Repsol, the Spanish oil giant that has been the team’s title sponsor since 1995, has also withdrawn some of its financial support of the team. The company’s famous orange and red colours now take up much less space on the bike’s bodywork, mostly around the belly pan area and the back of the seat, while there is some space allocated for Repsol’s renewable fuels around the screen.

The majority of the bike is left for HRC’s corporate colours: red, white, and blue, with the latter having the greatest prominence.

There is also a reasonable amount of the bodywork that has been left unpainted, with bare carbon on-show instead. This has become a fairly major trend in Formula 1 in the past two years as teams try to minimise their respective cars’ weight. It has been reported since last year’s MotoGP Valencia Test that the 2024 RC213V is 8kg lighter than the 2023 bike, which was over the weight limit - it’s possible, therefore, that HRC is following F1’s recent, and controversial, weight-saving trend.

As well as a new livery for 2024, Repsol Honda will also have a new rider pairing, with Joan Mir now joined by Luca Marini.

Joan Mir said: “It’s amazing to be part of a team with such history and success in MotoGP, I am as excited to start this season with the Repsol Honda Team as I was the last one. These team launches are always really nice, especially to see what everyone thinks of the new design. I think the colours for this year are really different and very bold, certainly something unique from the team.

"We have had a positive first taste of the bike and five productive days in Sepang, now we have to look ahead to the Qatar Test and the race. Last year taught me a lot and I am looking to put everything into practice for this year to help the Repsol Honda Team return to where I know they can be. Let’s enjoy this moment and quickly prepare for the season that is to come.”

Luca Marini said: “For me it is an honour to join the Repsol Honda Team, when I was a young child I already had some leathers in their colours for racing minibikes. Now to be here, at the launch, in the leathers and with the bike – it is a dream come true, something from destiny.

"This bike looks really beautiful, the colours are something very new and I am proud to represent them. We are just at the start of our journey together, but I already feel a part of the team and well supported by the engineers. I’ve ridden just six days on the bike so we are looking to make the most of the last test and begin the year in the best way possible.”

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing maintains an unchanged line-up from 2023 for the upcoming 2024 MotoGP season, with Brad Binder remaining alongside Jack Miller for this year. 

The livery remains just about the same, too, which has been more or less the case since KTM entered MotoGP in 2017, thanks mostly to its title sponsor Red Bull which pays a significant amount of money to make sure everyone knows who is paying for KTM’s factory MotoGP team, which means the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing livery department has a difficult time switching things up year-to-year. For 2023, there was at least the change from Motorex to Mobil1 for the team’s lubricants sponsor, but this year everything seems pretty much identical. 

In terms of the bodywork the livery is applied to, though, there is some significant change in 2024, with KTM bringing a new ground effect fairing, front mudguard wing, and a revised front wing and air intake to its 2024 RC16 during the preseason tests.

Brad Binder said: “The trajectory is on its way up. 11th, 6th, 6th and 4th (Binder’s previous finishes in the MotoGP riders’ standings) so, yeah, I have no doubt we are going to do better than 4th. 

“Last season was great at times and difficult at other moments. I felt like we had more in the pocket. We were much more competitive each weekend and always around the podium battle. 

“This season is where we can make the difference. It’s awesome to be starting 2024 for real. It’s going to be my tenth season racing for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and it’s been an amazing journey. We have always stuck together and always had the same goal in mind. I think that we have always fit really well together, and I am really happy where I am. The only thing left is to try and finish off the job in MotoGP.”

Reflecting on 2023, and speaking about his own 2024 prospects, Jack Miller said: “2023 was a year of learning and of growth for me as a person and as a rider. Towards the back half of the season, we really got comfortable with the bike and were able to start challenging for positions where we needed to be. 

“In KTM, and my dealings especially in the racing department, when they find something or find a pathway - new ideas, better ideas and strategies - then they go all-in to have them on the track as soon as possible. Having that power and that motivation and that backing from the company is awesome as a rider. I didn’t get to achieve all the wishes I wanted in 2023. I have a whole new list of wishes for 2024.”

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

Fabio Quartararo sees Alex Rins occupy the other side of the factory Yamaha garage in 2024, as the Spaniard replaces Franco Morbidelli for this season in what seems to be the most visually obvious change in the Iwata camp this year.

For now, at least, the 2024 Yamaha YZR-M1 looks suspiciously similar to the M1 of 2023. The Iwata marque’s tie-up with Monster Energy has meant that, since 2019, its livery has barely changed, and that is no different this time around - black dominates, with blue touches here and there and, of course, a large Monster Claw on the fairing. Even the camo-effect design that was introduced last year remains. (Last year, said camouflage design was launched in a cross-discipline unification of the looks of Yamaha’s factory MotoGP, MXGP, and SuperMotocross teams, but this year that unification doesn’t seem to have remained.)

At the recent MotoGP Sepang Shakedown, Cal Crutchlow tested a new fairing for Yamaha, designed in the style of Aprilia’s ‘moustache-style’ front wing the Noale brand ran in 2023 - indeed, this is the fairing that Yamaha has used in its team launch. Aprilia has updated its own design for this year, but Yamaha’s new aero packages for the Shakedown also included ground effect elements such as downwash diffusers on the bottom of the fairing (also shown in the launch images).

We will see what Yamaha ends up with by Qatar, but it’s also worth remembering that MotoGP’s new tiered concession system, and Yamaha’s ranking within that, means that it will be able to change its aerodynamic setup more often through the season than Ducati, for example.

Yamaha’s launch took place on the eve of the first official MotoGP test of 2024, at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. Three days of testing will take place this week from 6-8 February.

Red Bull GasGas Tech3

The GasGas Tech3 team takes on a new look in 2024, as Red Bull rejoins the team having left it at the end of 2020. This has been allowed to happen by Red Bull’s exit of the Repsol Honda team following Marc Marquez’s move to Gresini, and encouraged by GasGas’ welcoming of two-time World Champion Pedro Acosta into the team, alongside 2022 Moto2 World Champion Augusto Fernandez.

GasGas’ line-up for 2024 is among the most exciting, as Fernandez showed in 2023 his potential to run top-six pace at the French Grand Prix, and Acosta makes his MotoGP debut as the most highly anticipated rookie since Marc Marquez arrived in the premier class 11 years ago.

Augusto Fernandez said: “Everything was new and there was a lot to learn last year but there were points towards the end of the season where I felt fast and like I had the speed. I felt comfortable riding the bike but as a rookie, you had to be very patient and trust the process. When I finished 2023 I analysed the season and saw I had made the steps I needed to take.

“I am looking forward to this year because I now have the references of each track with the GasGas [KTM] RC16 and I know on Fridays we need to put a lot of input because it can decide much of the weekend.”

Pedro Acosta added: “If I think about my career and journey so far then it is quite nice! Nice to say I had the opportunity to ride for a factory team in my first season, nice to say I won two titles in three years, it is nice to say I come into a factory team for the first season in MotoGP. 

“But it is also quite tough to play with the pressure, to play with the comments. I don’t want to think about results at the moment. I just have one day on the bike, and it is not the time to talk about results or targets because it is not realistic. I will try to enjoy the Malaysia test and try to get as much experience as I can to try and be competitive at the beginning of the season but during that, we also need to take race experience to grow step-by-step.”

Trackhouse Racing

Trackhouse’s debut MotoGP season will start in just over one month, and it is perhaps one of the most anticipated debut seasons for a team in recent history, as the ownership’s American origin and NASCAR background opens possibilities for new commercial avenues for MotoGP.

However, that will take time, and Trackhouse needs first to establish itself in MotoGP and prove the worth of its project. Certainly, with Aprilia RS-GP machinery - including a factory-spec 2024 bike for Miguel Oliveira from the beginning of the season - it should be able to prove competitive, but for now the American team is sans a title sponsor.

Having recently tied up a deal with the fast food chain for a multi-race deal in NASCAR, there’s no doubting Trackhouse’s ability when it comes to marketing itself to potential sponsors, but MotoGP is something different, and certainly something with a smaller US appeal than NASCAR.

In the absence of a title sponsor, Trackhouse has been able to do more or less what it wants with the livery. In the end, it has strayed little from the ‘stars and stripes’ design it debuted with when the team was revealed late last year. As with the VR46 team and its fluo yellow design, you won’t be struggling to spot the Trackhouse bikes out on track this year.

Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team

Although 2025 is perhaps anticipated as a year of particularly significant change at the VR46 team, with a switch from Ducati to Yamaha machinery rumoured, the 2024 season is also one of change for Valentino Rossi’s team.

Credit: Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team/YouTube.

In part, this is down to the departure of Luca Marini to Repsol Honda and the subsequent arrival of Fabio Di Giannantonio. It’s arguably an upward move for VR46, which swaps Marini - who has no MotoGP wins - for the winner of last year’s Qatar Grand Prix, Di Giannantonio.

Indeed, it was that victory under the Lusail floodlights that pretty much sealed the deal for Di Giannantonio to replace Marini, after it was Marini himself who usurped Di Giannantonio’s position at the top of the list of candidates for the aforementioned Repsol Honda ride.

Di Giannantonio slots into VR46 alongside Marco Bezzecchi, who won three Grands Prix in 2023, a year which ended more quietly than it started for the #72 thanks to a crash and consequent broken collarbone while riding flat track in the week before the Indonesian Grand Prix. 

Although Bezzecchi does not go into 2024 as an immediate championship candidate, his bronze medal last year means the expectations are high, and his dominant performances in the three Grands Prix he won - Argentina (+4.085 seconds), France (+4.256 seconds), and India (+8.649 seconds) - indicate what is possible for the Italian.

Perhaps the most visible change for VR46 is its new sponsor. Gone is the yellow of Mooney, and in comes the red of Pertamina Enduro. A new tie-up with the state-owned Indonesian oil company, Pertamina, is doubtless more financially fruitful for VR46 than its previous one with the Italian finance company. Visually, the bikes are much different, with fluorescent yellow dominating the front of the bike, and the black base that has been with the team since its earliest Moto3 days swapped for white. Certainly, they’ll be easy to spot on-track.

Ducati Lenovo Team

The Ducati Lenovo team had a complicated 2023, as Enea Bastianini’s season was blighted first by injuries and then by a continuing feeling of discomfort with the Desmosedici GP23 that meant the #23 was able to finish on the podium only once, when he won the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Bastianini’s poor season meant that, despite Francesco Bagnaia’s riders’ title triumph, the factory Ducati team was not a player in the Teams’ World Championship, which instead went the way of Pramac Ducati which became the first Independent team to win that title.

For Ducati, which has undoubtedly built the best bike in MotoGP, winning all three titles - Riders’, Constructors’, and Teams’ - is the expectation, but allowing one of its satellite teams to beat its factory setup to one of those will no doubt have been a source of some disappointment last year.

In 2024, it will have to contend with Marc Marquez on a Gresini bike, as well as Marco Bezzecchi on a VR46 Ducati and Jorge Martin, who so nearly won last year’s riders’ crown, again on the Pramac machine. Therefore, the pressure will be on Bastianini and Bagnaia to deliver, but especially so on the former, whose job is certainly at risk when his contract expires at the end of the upcoming season.

Bastianini’s ability to respond to the pressure that comes with that situation in 2024 will be a key part of the season. He will attempt to make that response, as Bagnaia will attempt to retain his title, aboard a Desmosedici GP24, which we haven’t seen in its final form yet, even if a new engine was tested in Valencia last November.

What we do know, though, is that the GP24s of the factory team will be painted in red - shock - and more or less in the same livery as last year. The major change is a brightening up of the front of the bike, as the plate is now a fairly loud red rather than the black of last year. It means that Bagnaia’s #1 switches from red to black, and Bastianini’s #23 trades pink for white.

At the launch of the 2024 Ducati Lenovo Team, Francesco Bagnaia said: "I'm thrilled to kick off my fourth season with the Ducati Lenovo Team. The last test in Valencia provided positive feedback, giving us a solid foundation for the upcoming season's development work. I'm eager to hit the track and pick up where we left off. It's bound to be a challenging season, but we're ready to face it with our usual determination. As a close-knit team, we'll give our best to aim for the Championship once again."

Enea Bastianini added: "2023 was a challenging year, and I look forward to redeeming myself in the upcoming season. We have an exciting 2024 ahead of us. Despite participating in only a few Grands Prix last year, I've learned valuable lessons that I'll carry into the new season. I have great confidence in my Team, and I know we have all the potential to do well. I can't wait to hit the track and start the new season."

Gresini Racing

Gresini Ducati has become the first MotoGP team to launch its 2024 squad and livery ahead of the upcoming season, which will be the first in the team for Marc Marquez.

Marc joins his brother, Alex Marquez, in the satellite Ducati squad for this season. The #73 made his debut with Gresini in 2023, and proved the capacity of the team to be competitive. Marquez proved especially competitive in wet conditions, taking a first MotoGP pole position in Argentina and a podium in the race, too. Then, in Silverstone, he took his first MotoGP race win in the Sprint, before managing his first dry weather win in the Malaysian Sprint, a result he backed up with a podium in the Grand Prix.

Like his brother, Marc Marquez is joining the Gresini team from Honda, for whom he famously won six premier class world titles. HRC’s inability to provide him with a motorcycle with which he can win another championship - or even another race in more recent years - has been the reason for Marquez’ switch, and he will enter the 2024 season as a championship favourite.

As for the team, Gresini is about to enter its third season since splitting from Aprilia, for which it ran the factory race team between 2015 and 2021. Since then, it has won five Grands Prix - four with Enea Bastianini in 2022 and one with Fabio Di Giannantonio in 2023  - and two Sprints - both with Alex Marquez last year. In 2024, it suddenly becomes a title contender from the outset of the championship.

Whether it will be able to rise to the occasion will only be determined once the season gets underway, but we know that, with Ducati GP23s, it has the machinery to do it.

Those GP23s will be painted in the familiar light blue and red paint scheme that has become customary for Gresini since its aforementioned split from Gresini. It’s not an outright stunner, but it’s hardly disgusting, either. The absence of a title sponsor for the MotoGP class remains for 2024 - surprising considering its rider roster - but that at least allows Gresini to continue to build its identity around the blue and red.

Below are the dates for the remaining 2024 MotoGP team launches.

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