Bagnaia will start the 2023 MotoGP season as one of the favourites, if not the outright favourite to retain his title, however, various riders are expected to pose a significant threat.

One of those is lining up alongside him in Enea Bastianini, while the likes of Fabio Quartararo, Marc Marquez, Aleix Espargaro are expected to be very strong.

With MotoGP being closer than ever despite Ducati appearing to have the best overall package, Bagnaia will likely be facing one of the toughest title defences in recent years.

With that said, Bagnaia is carrying a relaxed approach to the idea of being the hunter rather than the chaser: "It's definitely a new feeling. If we work well, it will be an extra. Being the reference to beat can certainly be a double-edged sword. But we will still have time to deal with it."

‘Still a lot to improve’, says the current MotoGP champion

Bagnaia was an unlikely champion with just ten rounds to go after faltering due to his own mistakes at Qatar, Le Mans and Sachsenring. 

Yet, the Italian managed to overturn a 91-point deficit to Quartararo courtesy of a sensational run of form that saw him win five races, four of which were in succession. 

Despite making another error in Motegi and seemingly handing the advantage back to Quartararo, Bagnaia was able to thrive under pressure when it mattered most and learn from the mistakes made.

Bagnaia added: "Many of my improvements this year resulted from mistakes. I tried to work on myself in that regard. 

"In general, I believe that there is no improvement without mistakes - or you need more time for it. 

"If you fall or make a mistake and you can analyse it, you can grow from it. There's definitely still a lot I need to improve, I'm still young,"