With Assen providing huge amounts of drama and excitement, the second half of the 2022 MotoGP season could be one of the best in recent years.

Aleix Espargaro - who we voted the ‘best rider’ of the season so far - is less than a win behind reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo, after the Yamaha rider made his first mistakes of the year. 

Quartararo’s disappointing DutchGP also opened the door for Francesco Bagnaia, with the Italian clawing back 25 crucial points thanks to his third victory of the season. 

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Other standout performances in Assen saw Maverick Vinales claim his first podium with Aprilia, while rookie Marco Bezzecchi also secured a first podium finish in MotoGP. 

At the same time, there were several unconvincing performances which have left some riders needing to perform in the second half of the season, but who are they? 

Jorge Martin/Enea Bastianini 

While both riders have been very impressive at times and are in no danger of losing their seats in MotoGP, Martin and Bastianini are facing a different type of pressure compared to other riders on this list. 

The two Ducati riders, who will again be riding for the Italian marque in 2023, are in direct competition for the factory ride alongside Francesco Bagnaia. 

After taking three wins from seven races, Bastianini looked like the clear favourite to replace Jack Miller who has joined KTM.

However, that might no longer be the case as Martin has regained form following a disastrous start to the year which saw him crash out of several races.

In fact, Bastianini has been the one making errors in recent races, thus leading to the former Moto2 champion losing significant ground on the top two in the championship. 

Unless a decision is made during the summer break, the first few races back will be crucial for both riders as they look to secure a very coveted factory Ducati seat. 

Raul Fernandez 

Fernandez has looked nothing like the 2021 Moto2 sensation that nearly beat current Tech 3 KTM team-mate Remy Gardner to the title. 

With Fernandez preferring to join MotoGP with Yamaha, a move he was unable to make happen as KTM made sure not to lose the Spaniard, the 21 year-old has cut a hugely frustrated figure since. 

With just five points to his name - Fernandez is currently bottom of the championship standings aside from test riders Stefan Bradl, Lorenzo Savadori and Michele Pirro who have all failed to score - and a contract that is up at the end of the season, there’s a realistic possibility that Fernandez could move back to Moto2. 

Fernandez has been linked to one of the RNF Aprilia seats for 2023, a move that could be just what the Spanaird needs, however, Fernandez will need to find a lot more performance after the summer break in order to make that happen. 

Pol Espargaro 

After making such a promising start to 2022, Espargaro and Repsol Honda have endured a nightmare last few races. 

Whether its injury or a lack of performance that’s been holding him back, Espargaro has failed to kick on after a tough first season with the Japanese manufacturer. 

Although it looks certain that Espargaro will move on from Honda in 2023, it remains unclear who the Spaniard will be racing for. 

Tech 3 KTM have claimed Espargaro is a rider of interest to them and a deal appears to be close, although nothing has been confirmed yet. 

Should he secure a return to KTM, finishing out the season in good form will be vital for Espargaro as he attempts to regain the form of 2020 that made him a threat for race wins. 

Takaaki Nakagami 

Under the most pressure to keep a seat in MotoGP is Nakagami, with the LCR Honda rider  facing the risk of being replaced by Moto2 title contender Ai Ogura. 

In a year where results needed to improve, Nakagami has shown solid speed to finish in the top ten on several occasions.

In doing so he’s been close to Marc Marquez and at times ahead of Espargaro, but it appears as though that’s not enough for him to retain his ride.

Nakagami’s season hasn’t been helped by a couple of collisions, one of which led to a huge crash in Barcelona when he collected Francesco Bagnaia and Alex Rins. 

With options limited elsewhere, as is the case in WorldSBK, recent speculation has suggested Nakagami could become Honda’s new test rider should he lose his current position within the LCR team. 

Franco Morbidelli 

Although safe and secure regarding a deal for 2023, it’s fair to say Morbidelli needs a very strong second half to 2022.

The Italian has looked void of confidence, speed and awareness at times - highlighted by picking up three Long Lap penalties in Assen. 

Morbidelli has been underwhelming in terms of pace, especially when it comes to qualifying while also finishing several races over half a minute down on his team-mate Quartararo.

If Morbidelli fails to find form during the second part of the year, the Yamaha rider could enter 2023 already looking over his shoulder.

Toprak Razgatlioglu will be an option for Yamaha at the end of 2023, as will riders from other teams, therefore Morbidelli’s bid to retain his Yamaha seat beyond next season will likely need to start by picking up his results this year.