With five different winners and another eight podium finishers, MotoGP in 2022 has again pushed on in terms of competitiveness and excitement. 

Whether it’s first-time winners in Enea Bastianini or Aleix Espargaro, Fabio Quartararo and Francesco Bagnaia showing their class to deliver dominant wins, or a dramatic incident between title contenders that reignited the championship battle, 2022 has had it all so far.  

And with that said, the best rider of the 2022 MotoGP season so far is… Aleix Espargaro!

Fabio Quartararo DID DESERVE a penalty! | 2022 MotoGP

Espargaro is one of only two riders that has started and finished every race so far this season, the other being Luca Marini

And while it’s Quartararo who leads the championship, Espargaro has become the Yamaha rider’s main title threat, something no one really expected at the start of the season.

Espargaro’s already stunning season has included a pole position and maiden victory in Argentina, a run of four consecutive podiums which is also the best streak of any rider, yet, there’s one race that trumps them all.

That would be Assen last time out. 

Espargaro was crashed into by Quartararo with 23 laps remaining, a mistake from the Frenchman that relegated Espargaro from second to 15th. However, the Aprilia rider delivered a Marc Marquez-like fightback in order to get within less than a second of the podium, while also producing one of the greatest overtakes MotoGP has ever seen. 

A stunning double overtake - Espargaro moved to the inside of both Brad Binder and Jack Miller heading into the final chicane, miraculously making the apex despite braking even later than his fastest qualifying lap, which unsurprisingly sent the Dutch fans wild, as it did his Aprilia team when he crossed the start-finish line.

Best manufacturer goes to Ducati!

Yes, Ducati has eight bikes on the grid which is four more than any other brand, however, that’s not to take anything away from the incredible dominance they have shown, especially over one lap. 

Winners of six races, Ducati has also taken eight pole positions - four of those have come from Bagnaia. 

Jorge Martin has also claimed two pole positions (Qatar and COTA) while Johann Zarco and Fabio Di Giannantonio have taken one apiece. 

The Italian marque is yet to miss out on the podium in any race this season which is easily the best record of any manufacturer - Yamaha has six which have all come in the hands of Quartararo. 

Bagnaia heads into the summer break as our biggest underachiever

While Bagnaia has taken three wins, the same number as Quartararo and Bastianini, the Italian is only fourth in the championship standings. 

More worryingly than that, Bagnaia is already 64 points behind Quartararo in a year where he was not only expected to challenge the Yamaha rider, but was the outright pre-season favourite. 

Had Quartararo not crashed out in Assen a podium would have been likely, meaning the current deficit Bagnaia faces would have been much larger.

A slow start to the season as changes from the GP21 to this year’s upgraded 22 package was one of the issues, however, Bagnaia has also lacked consistency which includes crashing out from podium positions in Le Mans and Sachsenring. 

Joan Mir, Jorge Martin, Franco Morbidelli and Pol Espargaro were also considered. 

Overachiever goes to Bastianini

Although Bastianini was fast towards the end of last season, highlighted by his double podium at Misano, turning into an early-season title contender was not expected. 

With no other rider on more than one win, Bastianini had already racked up victory #3 by round seven after getting the better of Bagnaia late on in Le Mans. 

But it’s since then that things have become more difficult for Bastianini, as qualifying issues have led to him pushing over the limit in race situations and thus crashing out in both Mugello and Catalunya.

Still, it’s been a very good season for the Italian who is in contention to join Bagnaia at the factory Lenovo Ducati team in 2023. 

Best rookie goes to Marco Bezzecchi, and by some margin!

Although Di Giannantonio has impressed in recent rounds, so much so that he’s been rewarded with a new deal at Gresini Ducati, the consistency and speed shown by Bezzecchi has been brilliant. 

The Mooney VR46 Ducati rider has regularly been quickest of the five rookies, as was again demonstrated in Assen as he claimed a maiden MotoGP podium.

But it was the manner of his performance that was the most impressive part as Bezzecchi kept Bagnaia within range should a mistake have come.