Will MotoGP have a shock new champion in 2023? Who might cause an upset?

Four different champions in four years, but will the 2023 MotoGP season see a different rider add his name to that list to make it five?
Jorge Martin, Aleix Espargaro, MotoGP race, Argentinian MotoGP 3 April
Jorge Martin, Aleix Espargaro, MotoGP race, Argentinian MotoGP 3 April

Marc MarquezJoan Mir, Fabio Quartararo and Francesco Bagnaia are the last four riders to win the MotoGP championship.

And while all four riders are aboard factory machinery, two of which are at the same team in Marquez and Mir, there’s an argument to be made that a new champion could be crowned in 2023.

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Brad Binder is a rider who clearly has the talent to win a world championship at this level, however, much will depend on the competitiveness of his RC16.

The same can be said for Maverick Vinales, who at times was the only rider that could challenge Marquez for outright speed and ability when the Repsol Honda rider was busy winning title after title. 

Sure, there are others who have won multiple grands prix and on their day have the ability to do so again.

But there’s one rider in particular that many believe will have a breakthrough season this year, so much so that he will fight for the title.

We at Crash.net also see this rider as a firm title contender - that being Pramac Ducati’s Jorge Martin.


Martin was extremely impressive as a rookie in 2021 as he claimed several pole positions and a victory at the Red Bull Ring. 

But after struggling to find consistency aboard the Italian manufacturer’s new 2022 machine last year, Martin was instead overshadowed by Bagnaia and the man who beat him to the factory seat for this season, Enea Bastianini.

However, Martin has looked back to his best with Ducati’s updated 2023 bike in pre-season testing, and while MotoGP is closer than ever, the Spaniard continued to put his name among the top positions whether it be at Sepang or Portimao. 

When it comes to outright speed, few if any are better than the former Moto3 world champion.

Winless in 2022, Martin had a glaring chance to avoid such a statement being made by winning in Sepang as he dominated qualifying and the opening few laps after leading Bagnaia and Bastianini by well over a second. But Martin then crashed out from the lead as Bagnaia then went on to claim a vital win

Therefore cutting out mistakes will go a long way to keeping Martin in the fold when it comes to producing a title challenge, but given the machinery he’s on, which we know will be strong, and his raw ability, it’s difficult to look beyond Martin putting everything together this season.

Jorge Martin , Portimao MotoGP test, 12 March
Jorge Martin , Portimao MotoGP test, 12 March

Avoiding injury will also be key, something Martin has struggled with throughout his career in the Grand Prix paddock. 

The likes of Quartararo and Marquez, who are riders that many would say hold an advantage over Martin in terms of being the complete rider at this stage, are seemingly on bikes that are not ready to win, which again opens the door for Martin.

Whereas at Ducati, Martin has often shown that he has what it takes to match Bagnaia and Bastianini, two riders expected to fight for the title as well. 

Aprilia could pose a threat to Martin or any other Ducati rider winning the title, however, consistency will also be needed from both its rider and bike for that to happen. 

While we’re not predicting Martin to win the world title, the Pramac rider does appear to be the best positioned aside from Bastianini when looking at potential first-time champions. 

Only Bagnaia, Marquez, Quartararo and Bastianini have better odds to become MotoGP champion in 2023.

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