But to do so means once again not only fending off riders from rival factories, but seven other Desmosedicis.

Never in MotoGP history has the ‘best bike’ been available to so many riders on the same grid. It dilutes the advantages of being in the factory team but is a source of extra motivation and credit for Bagnaia.

Bagnaia currently leads the standings by just three points from Pramac’s Jorge Martin (on an identical GP23) with Marco Bezzecchi third in the standings for VR46 (on a GP22).

“It's true that my bike is the best, but it's also true that another seven riders have more or less the same bike; three [exactly] the same and the other four similar,” said Bagnaia, speaking at a Monster event before the flyaways.

“They all have more or less the same possibility to win as me and our bikes, the new one or the old one, have the same top speed. For sure the new one is new, but it also takes time, every weekend, to [set up] to be better on Sunday.

“But yes, for me, being one of eight riders with more or less the same bike gives me more motivation, but also more credit with what we are doing.

“I'm always going ‘all in’ because the feeling of the victory is something that I need.”

Toughest 2023 rivals? 'Martin, Bezzecchi… and Brad Binder'

While Bagnaia, Martin and Bezzecchi continue to trade blows in the title chase, the reigning champion also highlighted another tough adversary from the 2023 season: KTM’s Brad Binder, fourth in the standings.

“For sure, Marco and Jorge are very competitive. They are really great talents. Like Brad Binder,” Bagnaia said. “Binder is the most aggressive, the more tough to beat for me when you are battling with him.

“But I know perfectly the strength that Marco has in terms of the fight. And I know the precision of Jorge, so it's very difficult. They have three great riding styles. They are all so competitive.”

Bagnaia: I’ve been watching MotoGP races from 2005

A true fan of the sport, Bagnaia revealed he had been spending some of his down time between races watching past MotoGP seasons on TV.

“I wanted to refresh my memories and [recently] I've been looking at the races in 2005. And it's a wonderful moment, for sure, for MotoGP,” said Bagnaia.

2005 saw Bagnaia’s mentor Valentino Rossi defend his debut Yamaha title with ease, winning 11 races compared to just two victories for closest rival Marco Melandri (Honda), also on Michelin tyres.

Ducati finished sixth in the standings with Loris Capirossi (2 wins, on Bridgestone).

“If you look at the races, the first three or four riders had a gap of 5 seconds and the guys behind were 30-35-40 seconds, completely different to now!” said Bagnaia.

“Now, from first to last in a race is 20 seconds. It's so different compared to the past.

“The bikes now all have more or less the same level and the tyres are all the same, because before we had the different tyre [brands].

“So it's more different and I love that it's like this but it’s moved the limit forward for sure.”

'Max Verstappen is unbeatable!'

Earlier in the season, former title rival Fabio Quartararo likened Bagnaia’s run of victories to F1 champion Max Verstappen, a comparison Bagnaia brushes off.

“Max is still making more the difference compared to me, because he has a team-mate with the same car - I have seven with my bike and sometimes they can beat me - but Max is unbeatable!”