With a wheel yet to turn for the start of 2022 pre-season testing, it might appear too soon to be speculating on the 2023 MotoGP rider line-up.

But the last time the usual two-year cycle of factory contracts came up for renewal, covering the 2021 and 2022 seasons, the first deal was announced on January 28, 2020.

In other words, the equivalent of later this month.

That first deal was an extension of Maverick Vinales' (ill-fated) Yamaha contract. It was followed the very next day, January 29, by another big Yamaha announcement; the signing of future world champion Fabio Quartararo to replace Valentino Rossi for the following year.

Then, a few weeks later on February 20, Repsol Honda announced a lengthy four-year contract extension with Marc Marquez for 2021-2024.

Valentino Rossi was also always keen on getting the 'distraction' of contract extensions out of the way before the racing season began for much of his career. And while it's easier to re-sign early if staying put, there have also been plenty of examples of riders committing to changing teams or classes with a full racing season still to go.

During the wait for the Covid-delayed start to 2020, Ducati not only signed Jack Miller to replace Danilo Petrucci at its factory team for 2021 but also secured a deal to place Moto2 star Jorge Martin at Pramac.

Going further back, Bradley Smith's 2017 agreement to join the new KTM project was announced at the opening round of 2016, while he was at Tech3 Yamaha.

It goes without saying that contract discussions take weeks and often months to complete before an official announcement. With that in mind, it's safe to assume top riders are already discussing their future options and it certainly wouldn't be a shock if further 2023 MotoGP deals are announced this month.

But first, let's run through those already confirmed on next year's grid.

As mentioned, Honda and Marc Marquez bucked the usual two-year contract trend to keep the eight-time world champion on an RCV until at least the end of 2024.

Both sides will be hoping that the second half of the deal proves smoother than the first, with the Jerez arm injury wrecking Marquez's title hopes for the past two seasons, followed by a repeat of his 2011 vision problems.

Matching Marquez in having a contract in place until 2024 is KTM's Brad Binder, while Franco Morbidelli has found himself out of sync with the rest of the grid after being parachuted into Monster Yamaha in place of Vinales on a two-year deal that expires at the end of 2023.

In addition to the trio with firm deals for next season, others have some kind of 'option' in their contracts to extend for 2023, depending on results at a certain stage of this season. Binder's KTM colleagues Miguel Oliveira, Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez are understood to fall into that category, plus Vinales at Aprilia and Darryn Binder with Yamaha.

But that would still leave most of the MotoGP grid as free agents for 2023.

Until the new season begins, riders finishing last season strongly - especially compared to their team-mates - are obviously in a more powerful negotiating position.

As such, new world champion Fabio Quartararo will expect a substantial pay rise to renew with Yamaha, in the face of multiple rival offers, while a new Ducati deal for title runner-up Francesco Bagnaia would appear win-win for both sides after a dominant end to last year.

But things start to get more interesting for third in the world championship Joan Mir.

The 2020 world champion was disappointed at the rate of technical progress made to the Suzuki GSX-RR and, while outperforming mistake prone team-mate Alex Rins, failed to win a race last season.

That frustration gives rival manufacturers an opportunity to try and tempt Mir away from the factory he has been with since his 2019 MotoGP debut.

MotoGP rider manager Carlo Pernat has tipped Honda to make a determined effort to sign Mir in the face of the current uncertainty over Marquez's condition and that a deal may even be done before this season begins.

A Honda pursuit of Mir wouldn't be a surprise given HRC had joined Ducati and Suzuki in chasing the young Spaniard's signature for 2019. On that occasion Mir was convinced to join Suzuki, but Davide Brivio - who played a major role in that deal - is no longer running the Japanese team.

Unless Brivio returns, a decision that still seems to be hanging in the balance, Suzuki's best chance of keeping hold of Mir is to convince the Spaniard to hold-off signing anything until he gives the 2022-spec GSX-RR a chance - then hope the bike is good enough to persuade him to stay.

With Marquez under contract (and presumably fit to ride), if Mir joined Repsol Honda for 2023 it would be at the expense of Pol Espargaro.

Espargaro managed only one podium and pole during a difficult debut RCV campaign, but with Marquez questionable for pre-season testing, Espargaro might enjoy the full focus of Honda to develop the all-new machine around his style.

Like other factory riders that were expected to give their team-mates a stronger challenge in 2021, such as Jack Miller (Ducati) and Alex Rins (Suzuki), Espargaro will be hoping the Mir rumours are exaggerated and Honda gives him time to show what he can do in 2022 before a decision on the future.

In performance terms, Ducati was the dominant manufacturer at the end of last season and thus has the strongest cards to play at this moment.

While a case could be made for Quartararo or Mir joining the Italian factory, having both spoken of how difficult it is to fight with the Desmosedicis, Ducati might be wary of how long it took previous star-signing Jorge Lorenzo to hit form and decide their title interests are better served by retaining Miller alongside man-of-the-moment Bagnaia.

Ducati's problem is that the impressive young riders already within its ranks, such as Jorge Martin (Pramac) and Enea Bastianini (Gresini), also have their eyes set on a factory Ducati ride - and could be tempted elsewhere if it doesn't materialise.

Since factories usually prefer to retain at least one rider for the sake of continuity, the speculation surrounding Mir could boost Rins' chances of an early Suzuki extension. Last year's woes mean the #42 isn't currently in a position to haggle and should probably sign any offer Suzuki place in front of him.

A possible rival for Rins could be Vinales, who was never able to replicate the consistency and harmony he felt at Suzuki during his Yamaha years.

Much will depend on Vinales' own goals. Does he still harbour the burning ambition to be MotoGP champion? In which case Suzuki would be the clear choice. Or, having experienced so much title disappointment at Yamaha, is the alternative challenge of making history as Aprilia's first premier-class race winner a more attractive first priority?

While Vinales is still just 26, those at the older end of the MotoGP age scale - such as team-mate Aleix Espargaro (32), Andrea Dovizioso (35) and Johann Zarco (31) - will also have to weigh up if the time is right to walk away and seek new challenges should they not receive suitable new offers.

"I still didn’t decide yet," Espargaro said of his future at the end of last season. "When things are not going good in your job, as a few years ago, you have time to think [of retiring]. But right now I’m enjoying riding the bike and I’m in a good moment of my career so I’m not worried about my future. I want to see how the things go [in 2022].

"[2022] could be my last year. I will be 33 years old. I am proud of what I've achieved. It can be more than enough... I’m also young enough still to maybe be a test rider and do some wild-card races. But if I decide to retire, I will not be a team manager or something like this. I don’t want to stay 200 days away from home. That’s for sure!

"If I stay here it’s to race fully committed, but if I decide to finish you will not see me in the paddock, at least in the beginning."

Meanwhile, the potential 2023 MotoGP rookies list is topped by Yamaha's WorldSBK champion Toprak Razgatlioglu, who is tipped to test an M1 in the coming months ahead of a switch to grand prix. Assuming Quartararo re-signs alongside Morbidelli, the only space available for the Turkish star would be at the satellite RNF team, where he would no doubt expect a factory-specification M1 machine...

MotoGP 2023: Factory Teams

Repsol Honda:
Marc Marquez (End of 2024)
Pol Espargaro (End of 2022)

Monster Yamaha:
Franco Morbidelli (End of 2023)
Fabio Quartararo (End of 2022)

Lenovo Ducati:
Jack Miller (End of 2022)
Francesco Bagnaia (End of 2022)

Suzuki:
Alex Rins (End of 2022)
Joan Mir (End of 2022)

Aprilia:
Aleix Espargaro (End of 2022)
Maverick Vinales (End of 2022, with 'an option for renewal')

Red Bull KTM:
Miguel Oliveira (End of 2022)
Brad Binder (End of 2024)

MotoGP 2023: Independent Teams

Gresini Ducati:
Fabio di Giannantonio* (End of 2022)
Enea Bastianini (End of 2022)

WithU RNF Yamaha Team:
Andrea Dovizioso (End of 2022, Yamaha contract)
Darryn Binder (End of 2022, Yamaha contract, option for 2023)

Tech3 KTM:
Remy Gardner (KTM contract, end of 2022)
Raul Fernandez (KTM contract, end of 2022)

LCR Honda:
Alex Marquez (HRC contract, end of 2022)
Takaaki Nakagami (HRC contract, end of 2022)

Pramac Ducati:
Johann Zarco (Ducati contract, end of 2022)
Jorge Martin (Ducati contract, end of 2022)

VR46 Ducati:
Luca Marini (end of 2022)
Marco Bezzecchi (end of 2022)