Red Bull KTM launches 2023 MotoGP team, announces Pedrosa for Spain

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing is the fifth MotoGP squad to launch its 2023 team before the start of testing. The next scheduled launch is HRC on 23 February.

Brad Binder and Jack Miller with KTM RC16, 2023 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team launch.

The 2023 MotoGP season is fast-approaching already, with testing set to begin next month. As for now, 'team launch season' has started, and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing is the latest team to launch their challenge for the new season.

So far, five teams have launched their MotoGP projects for 2023. 'Team launch season' was kicked off by Yamaha, and now the factory KTM team has become the latest to launch its 2023 effort, which sees Jack Miller join Brad Binder in the Mattighofen factory's lead outfit.

For a more in-depth look at the 2023 MotoGP season, check out this guide previewing all the races, riders, and teams.

Overview

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP - The factory Yamaha team launches 2023 with new camo paint

Gresini Racing - Small changes to Gresini's paint for 2023 as it welcomes Alex Marquez

Ducati Lenovo Team - Bagnaia chooses #1 plate for 2023 as Bastianini, Monster are unveiled in Ducati red

Prima Pramac Racing - Martin and Zarco remain as Gino Borsoi welcomed for 2023 MotoGP season

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing - KTM counts on new talent to elevate itself into title contention, Pedrosa to wildcard Spain

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

It seems slightly odd to describe a relative goliath of motorcycling, especially motorcycle racing, such as KTM as a 'surprise package', but it certainly required a second look of the Teams' Championship standings at the end of 2022 when they finished second to the factory Ducati team. 

The Austrians are not newcomers to competitive success, of course. Their 2023 Dakar victory was their 19th on the rally, and the MX2 World Championship became almost a guaranteed world title for Mattighofen during the 2010s - not to forget their MX1/MXGP title successes as well, and their triumphs over in America. 

Even on asphalt, KTM has found success, although mostly in Moto3. Their RC250GP has won six of the 11 Moto3 World Championship titles - including the last three in succession - contested since the class' introduction in 2012, albeit with GasGas branding last year in the hands of the Aspar team's Izan Guevara.

In MotoGP, such success has been harder to find. KTM has won seven races over the last three years in the MotoGP class, but has not yet found the consistency to mount a title challenge over the course of a full season. 

Further, the rider it let go for 2023, Miguel Oliveira, was the rider who won both of its races in 2022 - both in the wet, first in Indonesia and then in Thailand - while Brad Binder went winless for the first time since 2015 in his first year with KTM in Moto3. 

Oliveira has moved to RNF Aprilia, and is replaced by Jack Miller, who brings with him him Cristhian Pupulin. KTM will be hoping that, as well as talent, they bring with them knowledge of the way in which Ducati has achieved its current position of dominance in MotoGP, albeit with a very different motorcycle design philosophy. 

Other additions for KTM in 2023 include Alberto Giribuola, the engineer behind Andrea Dovizioso's Ducati success, before engineering Enea Bastianini's four race wins in 2022 on the way to a bronze medal in the championship. Furthermore, KTM announced last year that aerodynamics engineers from Red Bull's F1 programme will be leveraged in its own MotoGP project.

Whether all of that results in a serious title bid remains to be seen, but in Brad Binder the Austrian marque certain has a rider capable of challenging. It is up to them to provide him with the motorcycle.

Brad Binder said: “It has felt like a long off-season already so I’m more than excited to get back to the track and to get started again. My fourth year in the class, and I feel like our best chance so far to really achieve something will be in 2023. We’re ready to go, so let’s get to Sepang and see what those first days bring us.”
 
Jack Miller said: “Good feelings! Joining up with the KTM family again it is all starting to feel rather ‘real’ now. I’ve been thinking about this moment for quite a long time. Finally getting to see the 2023 colors, myself in the suit and all the preparation for the season ahead. It’s amazing to be back here at KTM and to be catching up with everybody; it’s a special little taste before we get down to action in Malaysia.”

After the launch, KTM also confirmed Dani Pedrosa will ride as a wildcard at the Spanish Grand Prix. It will be Pedrosa's second wildcard appearance for KTM after Austria 2021, and his first Spanish Grand Prix since his final year as a full-time rider in 2018. The year before, in 2017, he won in Jerez.

Prima Pramac Racing

Pramac Racing has become a genuine victory-contending team in the recent years of MotoGP. It is one of the best examples of the development of the sport over the past 10 years or so. 

For 2023, it remains with the red-and-purple paint that it wore for much of 2022 thanks to title sponsorship from the Italian insurance company, Prima. Additionally, it remains with the same rider line-up for the upcoming season, retaining Johann Zarco and Jorge Martin - both potential race winners in 2023.

The major new arrival at Pramac for the season ahead is Gino Borsoi as team manager, who joins from the GasGas Aspar team which won two of the last three Moto3 World Championship titles with Albert Arenas and then with Izan Guevara, the latter followed up by Sergio Garcia who confirmed a 1-2 in the lightweight class standings for the Valencian team. Borsoi had become a constant part of the Aspar team, but is an exciting arrival for Pramac after the loss of Francesco Guidotti to Red Bull KTM for the 2022 season.

Ducati Lenovo Team

The Ducati Lenovo Team has launched its 2023 season on 23 January, unveiling the #1 plate for 2022 MotoGP World Champion Francesco Bagnaia, as well as a new major sponsor in Monster Energy and its new rider, Enea Bastianini. 

Ducati has arguably the most exciting rider line-up of the 2023 MotoGP grid, with 15 premier class race wins between Francesco Bagnaia and Enea Bastianini. All of those wins came in the last two seasons, Bagnaia is the most victorious rider of the past two seasons, and Bastianini won all four of his Grands Prix in 2022 on a year-old motorcycle in a team newly divorced from its former factory partners - Aprilia

It is expected to be a tense season for Ducati with Bagnaia trying to hold onto not only his World Champion's #1 plate but also his number-one status in the Ducati garage. In the title fight, Bastianini will be one of Bagnaia's principle rivals, and essentially the only candidate to replace him as Ducati's team leader. 

Perhaps Bagnaia's choice to run the #1 plate in 2023 would have been a bigger story if it had not leaked the day before the team launch on Sunday night. Nonetheless, the rider who took the title with #63 will become the first rider to run the #1 in MotoGP since Casey Stoner in 2012. Should Bagnaia defend the title, he would be the first rider to do so in MotoGP with the #1 since Mick Doohan in 1998.

Francesco Bagnaia said: "My winter break was shorter than usual because of all the commitments after winning the World Championship, but now I am charged up and eager to start the season. I have missed the Desmosedici GP and my team, and I can't wait to get back on track.

"I could not decide whether to continue using the number 63 or switch to the number 1, and in the end, I decided on the latter. Seeing it on the bike is beautiful, and now my goal will be to do everything to keep it. It won't be easy because I expect even tougher competition than last year, with many rivals ready to fight for the title: however, I am aware that I have the best bike and team to aim high again in 2023. Thanks again to all of Ducati and my team! I am ready to resume our adventure together."

Enea Bastianini said: "Wearing the colours of the official team is a great emotion, and now it is up to me to prove that I deserve this opportunity. I am excited about the new season! Fortunately, I won't have to wait long to be able to ride my red Desmosedici GP bike on track. In a couple of weeks, we will be in Sepang for the first test of the year, and it will be a crucial moment to get to know the guys in the team better and, above all, to start working on the bike.

"It's going to be a very competitive year, and there will definitely be easy and more difficult moments to face, but I'm ready for anything! Thanks again to Claudio, Gigi, Paolo, Davide and the whole Ducati! I will give 100% as always."

Ducati also launched its 2023 factory WorldSBK team alongside the MotoGP outfit at the Madonna di Campiglio. Alvaro Bautista is confirmed with the #1 plate having won the 2022 title, meaning WorldSBK has had a rider run the #1 plate every year since 2014.

Gresini Racing

The Gresini Racing team has launched its 2023 MotoGP squad, with a small update to the colour scheme of 2022.

The big change for Gresini in 2023 is the arrival of Alex Marquez from LCR Honda, who comes to partner second-year rider Fabio Di Giannantonio. Marquez struggled in Honda, and has not been afraid of speaking about the situation inside HRC in 2022.

As for his new Ducati adventure, it presents an opportunity for Marquez to reinvent himself in MotoGP, somewhat. Marquez was able to show in 2020 that he can be a podium finisher and victory contender in MotoGP in Le Mans and Aragon, but was unable to replicate that thereafter. It is well-known that the Honda RC213V has not been the most competitive motorcycle in recent years of MotoGP, and a difficult one to ride in addition. Moving to Ducati, Marquez swaps maybe the most difficult bike to ride in MotoGP for arguably the most straightforward.

At the Gresini team launch, Marquez said: “Today is a really special day: to see this team so tight together and ready is a thing that brings great emotions. To be here at this presentation is a very special thing. To see so much eagerness and excitement within the team and the people that came see us is something I really like. Now the work starts, for a preseason that hopefully with enable us to be 100% ready for the first race at Portimão. The goal is to have a great start to the season because it will set the pace for the rest of 2023. We have the tools and the will to do well; it won’t be easy, obviously, but the right approach helps a lot in these scenarios.” 

Fabio Di Giannantonio said: “We start 2023 with a pinch more of red, which stands for determination, passion, fire… I’m eager to continue growing and do well. We want to take this new season race by race, with the awareness that this is the right time: the top ten should be the regular occurrence, while top five a realistic goal. The team is charged up and I trained 300% hard for this year – we’re ready!”

Gresini team owner, Nadia Padovani, said: “We’re very excited for this new adventure. 2022 was incredible in every way, but the idea is to continue to improve and surprise. We’re a young team with great ambition: Fabio will have the chance to showcase all his potential in his sophomore year and Alex is eager to take the stage back… we will do our best to make sure both can succeed. Today is almost a return to normal with such an important presentation and with the people joining us: a big thank you goes to the sponsors and the whole team who worked hard to be ready.” 

Gresini also launched their MotoE and Moto2 teams alongside their MotoGP squad. The most interesting part being that they are now sponsored by QJ Motor in Moto2.

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

THE Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team has become the first contender of the 2023 championship to reveal the livery it will be running in the coming season.

The wraps came off at a glitzy ceremony in Indonesia, during Yamaha’s S3 Dealer Meeting which is claimed to be the largest gathering of its kind anywhere in the world. Joining Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli at the launch were Yamaha MotoGP team boss Lin Jarvis, Yamaha President Yoshihiro Hidaka, and Yamaha MotoGP team director Massimo Meregalli.

After a tough year in 2022, which saw Quartararo lose his title to Ducati’s Pecco Bagnaia, Yamaha has taken the chance to lightly update it’s distinctive blue, black and green livery, with the fairing and nose cone of the new bike featuring a distinctive dazzle-camo paint design. The entire livery has been designed for 2023 by legendary helmet designer Aldo Drudi.

Jarvis also revealed that the new look and feel of the official Monster Yamaha team will see the same effect applied to other racing classes. “You will also see later this week a similar [livery] design in Supercross and Motocross.” He said, “So this is a Monster Yamaha new look and feel”.

The new, youthful-looking camouflage design is no mistake either, with Jarvis going on to explain the choice in a little more detail.

"I always felt our previous bike was the most beautiful and clean in the racing world, but now you will notice it’s a little bit more aggressive. A little bit younger… You can see some camouflage feel and this is not by accident. The [livery] has been designed by one of the top designers in our world, Aldo Drudi in Italy, and the idea is to be aggressive: We are going to battle! We are going to war! We are going to challenge!”

While the livery is now known, the actual look and technical design for 2023 is not, with MotoGP teams generally keeping their technical updates for the coming season under wraps until the first test of the season – taking place in Sepang next month.

In addition to the MotoGP livery, the new camo paint has also been applied to the factory MXGP YZ450Fs of Jeremy Seewer, Glenn Coldenhoff, and Maxime Renaux in the MXGP World Championship; the factory MX2 YZ250Fs of the Kemea team's Thibault Benistant and Jago Geerts; to the factory Star Racing YZ450Fs of Eli Tomac and Dylan Ferrandis in the 450 class of AMA Supercross (and presumably Justin Cooper in the rounds he does of 450SX) and AMA Pro Motocross; and to the Star Racing YZ250Fs of Levi Kitchen, Stiles Robertson, Nick Romano, and Nate Thrasher in 250-class AMA Supercross, as well as for Justin Cooper when he returns for AMA Pro Motocross.

This is also why the Star Racing team were being protective of their bikes being photographed at the AMA Supercross season-opener in Anaheim, since the livery used there was not the one they will be using for the rest of the season, as it was only announced on 20 January on the day before the second race of the season in San Diego.

For a more detailed view of the 2023 MotoGP season, including the riders, teams, and tracks they will visit, check out our MotoGP 2023 guide article.

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