MotoGP 2024 predictions: Biggest shock, teammate drama, new champion?

We predict the crucial talking points ahead of the 2024 MotoGP season

Fabio Quartararo, Qatar MotoGP test, 20 February
Fabio Quartararo, Qatar MotoGP test, 20 February

The 2024 MotoGP season begins this weekend in Qatar.

Francesco Bagnaia is aiming for a third consecutive championship but the competition at the dominant Ducati brand has increased with the arrival of Marc Marquez.

Yamaha and Honda dream of turning around their disastrous 2023 campaigns with the aid of concessions.

And what about Pedro Acosta's emergence?

Our in-the-know journalists predict the key topics for the 2024 season...

Who will be the dark horse to keep an eye on?

Peter McLaren: Fabio di Giannantonio.

Robert Jones: Pedro Acosta. While expectation is very high for the young Spaniard, achieving top five finishes and podiums is arguably harder than ever in MotoGP. 

But given the machinery at his disposal and his ability to quickly adapt to previous categories, Acosta could be a contender to do just that very early in the season. The sprint format will give Acosta added opportunity for surprise results,  and therefore podiums could be possible if KTM are as competitive as expected.

Jordan Moreland: Alex Marquez for me. He was really impressive in testing and seems to have adapted to the GP23 nicely. People need to remember he won two Sprint races last year and there hasn't been any attention on him as his brother has taken all that at Gresini. Alex is going about his business under the radar & is definitely one to watch.

Biggest storyline to keep an eye on?

Peter McLaren: 2025 rider contracts.

Robert Jones: Who will line-up alongside Francesco Bagnaia in 2025? Enea Bastianini is the rider with that privilege at the moment, however, Ducati's star-studded line-up could mean a change in the factory team comes in 2025. Jorge Martin, Marc Marquez and Marco Bezzecchi could all be in play.

Jordan Moreland: Other than the obvious storyline of Marc Marquez, the biggest storyline to keep an eye on will be Fabio Quartararo and Yamaha. If things don't progress the way he wants with the bike, it would be no surprise if he announces his departure from the team at the end of 2024.


Predict the rider move which will shock the paddock?

Peter McLaren: How about Davide Brivio to sign one of his former Suzuki riders for Trackhouse.

Robert Jones: Jack Miller to Honda. What would likely be a step back, Miller could see his MotoGP future continue outside of KTM if Acosta adapts well to the class. 

KTM will want nothing more than to pair Acosta with Brad Binder, which could leave Miller looking at factory seats elsewhere. Honda would be the brand to watch if that's the case, especially if Joan Mir, who has already been linked with an exit previously, was to move on.

Jordan Moreland: Fabio Quartararo to Aprilia!

Will Yamaha and Honda progress… or not?

Peter McLaren: Yes, surely they will make progress with the new development opportunities available to them by the concessions. The question is how long it will take.

Robert Jones: We believe that Honda and Yamaha have both taken steps forward in testing, and although it does not appear to be enough to challenge the likes of Ducati, small breakthroughs are what's needed and their riders have so far been happy. Honda needs to make the biggest step and the additions of Luca Marini and Johann Zarco could do just that as they bring valuable insight from Ducati.

Jordan Moreland: For sure, Honda more so than Yamaha. I think it is obvious from testing that Honda have made a jump with their bike & look more settled than Yamaha. It seems that Yamaha still have the same issues with doing a time attack, so they are on the back foot. But ultimately, having concessions for both manufacturers will progress them up the grid this season.

Which teammates are most likely to collide?

Peter McLaren: I think Marini and Bezzecchi were the only teammates to clash last season, at turn 1 at India. Statistically, it’ll be the most evenly matched teammates since they’ll be fighting together on track. Looking at the Qatar test, the Ducati Lenovo riders were first and second on the timesheets, although they proved in 2022 that they can fight for wins without incident.

Robert Jones: While both riders are very clean racers, Bagnaia and Bastianini could find themselves battling for race wins on plenty of occasions in 2024. Their battles were intense during the 2022 season, but with a title potentially on the line, contact might be inevitable.

Jordan Moreland: Things could get spicy between Pecco Bagnaia and Enea Bastianini in the factory Ducati team if they are fighting for wins & the World Championship.

Who will win the 2024 title?

Peter McLaren: Francesco Bagnaia starts as the clear favourite but Jorge Martin and Enea Bastianini have looked close to the reigning champion and have the same bike. 

Marco Bezzecchi was third last year, has two seasons of experience under his belt and seemed to make a late breakthrough with the GP23 in testing. 

Brad Binder only mathematically dropped out of the title fight in the closing stages last year, so if KTM has closed the gap he will be even stronger. Aleix Espargaro and Aprilia, title contenders in 2022, have been impressive throughout testing. 

If Diggia picks up where he left off, as he’s indicated in testing, he could even be in it. 

Then there’s Marc Marquez of course, who knows better than anyone on the grid how to win a title. In other words, the top riders from all three European factories. Only Honda and Yamaha look too far away at this stage.

Robert Jones: Francesco Bagnaia is my pick to make it three MotoGP titles in a row for Ducati, although the competition will be even more fierce as I expect Martin, Marc Marquez and Brad Binder to all be in the mix until the very final stages of the season.

Jordan Moreland: Marc Marquez. But it could easily be Pecco Bagnaia, Jorge Martin, Enea Bastianini, Brad Binder or Marco Bezzecchi. It is going to be a brilliant season.

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