Ahead of India hosting the first ever MotoGP race in the country, the MotoGP Bharat, here's a look at the grid. 

MotoGP Bharat 2023: The Grid

September 16, 2023

The 2023 MotoGP Bharat will take place at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, UP, between September 22 and 24. 

Ahead of the country’s first-ever MotoGP race, here’s a look at the grid. 

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team

Fabio Quartararo (France)

Having been mightily impressive as a MotoGP rookie in 2019 and adding wins to his arsenal in 2020, Fabio Quartararo became France’s inaugural premier class World Champion in 2021.

A year later, Quartararo finished runner-up following a fascinating title fight with Francesco Bagnaia that was decided at the final race of the season.

2023 hasn’t gone to plan for Quartararo and Yamaha so far, however, as an underperforming YZR-M1 has led to the Frenchman standing on a Sunday podium just once — P3 at the Grand Prix of The Americas.

Franco Morbidelli (Italy)

Moving into MotoGP in 2018 as the reigning Moto2 World Champion, Franco Morbidelli shone in 2020 when he finished runner-up in the Championship. That form made him one of the leading contenders for title glory in 2021, but a knee injury hampered his season. That same year, Morbidelli partnered Quartararo at Monster Energy Yamaha.

A disappointing 2022 has been followed by another quiet year on an underperforming Yamaha, as Morbidelli gets ready for a fresh chapter in his career in 2024.

Ducati Lenovo Team

Francesco Bagnaia (Italy)

Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia arrived in MotoGP in 2019 having claimed the 2018 Moto2 title. A debut MotoGP win came in Aragon in 2021, though a title charge ultimately slipped through his fingers.

However, 2022 was a different story. Despite a slow start that saw him sitting 91 points behind Quartararo, Bagnaia produced a stellar second half of the season to ultimately clinch the crown at the season finale.

Sporting the #1 for the 2023 season, “Pecco” has been the rider to beat. Five Sunday victories, including three Sprint and Race doubles, sees the Italian lead the title race heading into the closing stages of the season.

Enea Bastianini (Italy)

Enea Bastianini, aka “The Beast”, won the 2020 Moto2 World Championship and quickly made a name for himself in the premier class. The Italian picked up a maiden MotoGP podium in his rookie season, and the start of his sophomore year brought a debut win.

Bastianini, despite being on a year-old bike at Gresini, won four races and finished third in the standings. A stunning year earned him a factory seat alongside Bagnaia for 2023, though a shoulder blade injury sustained in Portugal has hampered his year thus far. At the Catalan GP, Bastianini injured his left ankle and hand and will be sidelined until after the Japanese GP.

Aprilia Racing

Aleix Espargaró (Spain)

Aged 34, Aleix Espargaró is the oldest rider on the grid, competing in his 13th consecutive premier class campaign.

Espargaró’s debut podium came in 2014 as he rode an under-powered Forward Yamaha. After two years with Suzuki, his Aprilia adventure began in 2017. Tough years then unfolded, until his first rostrum with Aprilia came in 2021.

In 2022, Espargaró won his first GP and handed Aprilia their first win in MotoGP, with the hugely positive year ending with a P4 in the Championship.

2023 started slowly, though Espargaró returned to winning ways with a double victory at the Catalan GP.  

Maverick Viñales (Spain)

The 2013 Moto3 World Champion has been a MotoGP mainstay since 2015. The Spaniard claimed a debut win in the class at Silverstone in 2016—Suzuki’s first win in almost a decade—before moving to Yamaha in 2017.

After eight wins and plenty of podiums, Viñales’ successful relationship with Yamaha ended controversially midway through 2021 before a new chapter began at Aprilia.

Viñales has four podiums so far with the Noale team—two in 2022 and two in 2023—as the partnership goes from strength to strength.

Repsol Honda Team

Marc Márquez (Spain)

Marc Márquez remains the youngest ever premier class winner, having achieved the feat at the age of just 20 years and 266 days.

The Spaniard is regarded as one of the greatest-ever racers and boasts eight World Championships, including six in MotoGP between 2013 and 2019.

In 2020, a crash at the Spanish GP saw the #93 sustain a right humerus fracture that would keep him out of action until 2021. Four surgeries later, Márquez returned in 2023 fully fit and ready to fight for the title again, though the 2023 season hasn’t gone to plan as injuries and a struggling Honda has made for a tough campaign for the elder Márquez brother. Does a turn in fortune await?

Joan Mir (Spain)

Following Suzuki’s unexpected departure from MotoGP in 2022, 2020 MotoGP World Champion Joan Mir finds himself in the Repsol Honda ranks for the 2023 MotoGP season.

This has been Mir’s toughest year to date, as Honda’s struggles continue, with injuries also blighting the Spaniard’s first season with the iconic factory. The double World Champion will be aiming to end the season on a high ahead of 2024.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Jack Miller (Australia)

Jack Miller’s rise to MotoGP is unique, as the Australian jumped straight to the premier class from Moto3 in 2015. A debut win was earned in 2016 on an Independent Team Honda in Assen before Miller enjoyed a fruitful few years with Ducati, first at Prima Pramac, then in the factory set up, ultimately switching to Red Bull KTM Factory Racing for 2023 — his third MotoGP manufacturer.

Miller has tasted Sprint podium success already, though he awaits Sunday success in factory orange.

Brad Binder (South Africa) 

2016 Moto3 World Champion Brad Binder is embarking on his fourth MotoGP campaign with Red Bull KTM. Having won his third-ever premier class race, a tricky couple of seasons have been endured by KTM and Binder in 2021 and 2022, though 2023 has been a welcome return to form for them both.

Big things await for the South African racer, who is set to be with KTM until at least the end of 2026.

Gresini Racing MotoGP (Ducati)

Álex Márquez (Spain) 

The younger Márquez sibling is a double World Champion in his own right, having claimed the 2014 Moto3 and 2019 Moto2 titles.

Back-to-back P2 finishes came in Álex’s rookie MotoGP season with Repsol Honda, before he experienced two difficult years at LCR Honda.

A fresh start at Gresini Racing was just what Álex needed for 2023, as he already has a Sunday podium and a Sprint win under his belt in his first year with Ducati.

Fabio Di Giannantonio (Italy)

Joining the premier class in 2022 as a Moto3 and Moto2 race winner, Fabio Di Giannantonio’s standout moment in his rookie campaign came when he claimed pole at his home Grand Prix in Mugello.

“Diggia” stayed with Gresini for 2023 and has climbed into the top 10 on five occasions on a Sunday. The Italian eyes plenty more of those results between now and the end of the season.

Prima Pramac Racing (Ducati)

Johann Zarco (France) 

Johann Zarco was a back-to-back Moto2 World Champion (in 2015 and 2016) before he linked up with Tech3 Yamaha in 2017 in MotoGP.

After an impressive stint with Yamaha and a disappointing time at KTM in 2019, Zarco found a new home at Ducati in 2020. Now into his fourth season—his third with Prima Pramac—Zarco has notched up 13 podiums to add to his tally of six with Yamaha.

That maiden MotoGP win has evaded Zarco thus far. Will he get one before his move to Honda ahead of next season?

Jorge Martín (Spain)

Nicknamed the “Martinator”, Jorge Martín rose through Moto3 (won the 2018 title) and Moto2 as one of the brightest young talents in the sport. He claimed a podium in just his second MotoGP race and, despite a huge crash in Portugal that saw him miss four races, claimed a debut win in the same year.

2022 was a winless year for him, but 2023 has seen Martin become a title contender again as he aims to chase down Ducati rival Bagnaia for the crown.

Mooney VR46 Racing Team (Ducati)

Luca Marini (Italy)

Luca Marini, half-brother of MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi, made his Grand Prix debut as a Moto3 wildcard in 2013 before joining Moto2 full-time in 2016.

Marini’s breakthrough season came in 2018. Six Moto2 wins between then and 2020 followed ahead of a move to MotoGP in 2020.

In 2023, Marini claimed his first MotoGP Sunday podium at the Americas GP and became a regular top six finisher with Mooney VR46 Racing Team.

Marco Bezzecchi (Italy)

A Moto3 title contender in 2018, Marco Bezzecchi jumped to MotoGP after impressive Moto2 seasons in 2020 and 2021. A Rookie of the Year campaign followed in 2022, as Bezzecchi announced himself as a title contender in 2023 with two wins in the first five races.

Bezzecchi has been a standout performer so far this season and, although it’s a tough ask, could potentially end the year as a World Champion.

RNF MotoGP Team (Aprilia)

Miguel Oliveira (Portugal)

Acting as Portugal’s first-ever premier class race winner, Miguel Oliveira is one of the fastest riders on the grid to have never won a World Championship.

Having come close in Moto3 and Moto2, Oliveira bagged a debut MotoGP win in 2020 to hand Tech3 their first win in over 20 years. Later that year, he won the Portuguese GP.

After winning three more times in 2021 and 2022 with Red Bull KTM, Oliveira started a new adventure with CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team for 2023, and although it’s been a luckless year so far for the #88, there have been several glimpses of his true potential.

Raúl Fernández (Spain)

Raúl Fernández made a name for himself in the 2020 Moto3 World Championship ahead of a record-breaking debut season in Moto2 in 2021. Having just missed out on the title that year, he moved to MotoGP in 2022 with Tech3 KTM. A tough debut season followed, as the Spaniard moved to Aprilia’s new Independent Team for 2023 with high expectations.

Fernández hasn’t fulfilled those expectations yet in what has been an injury-plighted year, though his potential is evident. The #25 remains one of the most exciting young riders in Grand Prix racing.  

Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing (KTM)

Pol Espargaró (Spain)

The 2013 Moto2 World Champion is in his 10th campaign as a MotoGP rider, having represented Yamaha, KTM, Honda, and now GASGAS.

A tough couple of seasons with Repsol Honda saw the younger Espargaro sibling link back up with Tech3 for 2023, but a huge crash in Portugal’s season-opener kept the #44 sidelined until the British GP.

In what’s been the toughest year of his career, Pol has shown that he’s a warrior as he hopes to add to his eight MotoGP podiums before the season ends.

Augusto Fernández (Spain)

Augusto Fernández is the reigning Moto2 World Champion and the sole rookie on the 2023 MotoGP grid.

Fernández’s standout ride so far in the premier class has been a P4 finish at the French GP, while the Spaniard also has three top 10s to his name in addition to points in every race so far this season.

LCR Honda Castrol

Álex Rins (Spain)

Álex Rins is a six-time MotoGP race winner, with his latest victory having come at this year’s Americas GP during his first year with Honda.

Rins’ five other premier class wins came with Suzuki, while he is also an eight-time Moto3 winner and a four-time Moto2 winner.

Rins’ impressive first season with Honda was halted after he suffered a broken leg in Mugello, which ruled him out of the following five GPs. The Spaniard will hope to rediscover his form upon his return before a move to Yamaha in 2024.

Takaaki Nakagami (Japan) 

Takaaki Nakagami moved to MotoGP in 2018 as a two-time Moto2 race winner and a 14-time Grand Prix podium finisher.

The Japanese rider is into his sixth season as a valued LCR Honda Idemitsu star, though he remains in search of his first premier class podium.

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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