10 issues we discovered from the 2023 MotoGP Valencia Grand Prix

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The 2023 MotoGP season got here all the way down to a dramatic finale on the Valencia Grand Prix, with Francesco Bagnaia rising as world champion.

The hole between Bagnaia and Jorge Martin was 21 factors coming into the weekend, and solely 14 by the beginning of the grand prix. However a crash for Martin ended his hopes and seemingly these of his hopes of stepping as much as the manufacturing unit staff. Bagnaia didn’t have to, however he gained his seventh grand prix of the season to become the first Ducati rider ever to win back-to-back titles.

Perception: The key moments in Bagnaia’s 2023 MotoGP title defence

Marc Marquez was caught up within the crash that ended Martin’s championship, nevertheless it didn’t dampen his farewell weekend with Honda having achieved a dash podium on the Saturday. Nevertheless Marquez earned the ire of Marco Bezzecchi after their lap one conflict, which led to the raging VR46 rider calling at Marquez the “dirtiest rider” to arrange a little bit of an intra-Ducati rivalry going into 2024 when the eight-time world champion joins Gresini.

The dreaded tyre stress guidelines didn’t affect the championship, nevertheless it did rob Fabio Di Giannantonio of a hard-earned podium. He’s secured his MotoGP future not less than, replacing Honda-bound Luca Marini at VR46.

Elsewhere, the RNF team was rejected from the 2024 grid by Dorna owing to monetary issues bringing disrepute to the championship by title accomplice and the staff’s majority proprietor CryptoDATA. However this has paved the way in which for a new entity to join from the world of four wheels.

In a packed closing weekend of the 12 months, listed below are 10 issues we discovered from the 2023 MotoGP Valencia GP.

1. Bagnaia confirmed his true champion’s credentials in showdown

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Bagnaia has claimed back-to-back MotoGP world championship titles

Francesco Bagnaia could declare that the stress he felt final 12 months in his maiden title success was worse than this 12 months, regardless of having only one race to consider and a 23-point buffer over Fabio Quartararo.

However the Valencia finale in 2023 got here with way more jeopardy. Main into the spherical by 21 factors, one other common dash efficiency subsequent to Jorge Martin’s supreme win reduce the hole all the way down to 14 for the grand prix.

Bagnaia could solely have wanted fifth to win the championship, however that was removed from assured on a grid filled with riders with podium potential – one in every of whom (extra on him later) got here by means of from eleventh to nearly win.

Promoted to pole by a Maverick Vinales penalty, Bagnaia seized the holeshot however Martin leapt as much as second. Clearly the sooner of the 2, the Pramac rider made a vital error at Flip 1 on lap three when he acquired sucked into the slipstream and ran off.

Martin’s collision with Marc Marquez on lap six ensured the championship to Bagnaia. However it may be argued the manufacturing unit Ducati rider considerably goaded Martin into the aggression that price him dearly. Within the first half of the season, Bagnaia outscored Martin by 62 factors after the primary 10 rounds whereas within the closing 10, Martin solely outscored Bagnaia by 23.

“I could not be pleased with a second place within the championship,” Bagnaia stated afterwards, “as a result of a primary plate signifies that it is advisable to exhibit that you’re the primary and I feel we did all the pieces good to be thought of the quantity ones.”

Positive sufficient, when it mattered most, Bagnaia stood up as the higher rider. LD

2. Martin implosion confirmed the weaknesses he must arrest in 2024

Martin must show he has learned from 2023 if he is to challenge for championship honours next year

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Martin should present he has discovered from 2023 if he’s to problem for championship honours subsequent 12 months

Martin is 100% appropriate when he repeatedly said over the Valencia spherical that from the San Marino GP onwards, he has been the quickest of the 2 title challengers. However a number of key errors unravelled his title problem.

His crash whereas main comfortably in Indonesia was not less than 5 factors that went begging. In Australia, his determination to go together with the flawed rear tyre price him one other 9 factors to Bagnaia. Even with the tyre woes of Qatar, that further 13 factors would have meant his hole trailing into the grand prix in Valencia after his dash win would have been only one.

And in a head-to-head for glory, Martin would have come out on high. Working off at Flip 1 whereas trailing Bagnaia’s slipstream was an error not completely of his personal making. However his admittedly impatient cost to get again to Bagnaia which resulted in his tangle with Marc Marquez and the ending of his championship hopes was.

The very fact he was 14 factors adrift of Bagnaia coming into the grand prix finale means Martin felt afterwards that he “didn’t lose” the title as his probabilities have been slim. Now he’s discovered what it means to battle for a championship, subsequent 12 months he has to point out this. LD

3. Tyre stress rule mercifully stays out of title outcome…

Aleix Espargaro had spoken of concern that tyre pressure penalties could controversially decide the title

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Aleix Espargaro had spoken of concern that tyre stress penalties might controversially determine the title

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro didn’t mince his words when the topic of the tyre stress guidelines doubtlessly deciding the championship was introduced up.

“If one penalty decides the championship, the picture for the championship is worse than what I did to Morbidelli,” he stated, referencing his slap of the Yamaha rider in Qatar.

This remark got here after penalties have been awarded for the primary time a dash for Morbidelli and Luca Marini breaking the tyre stress rule. Given it’s not one thing the rider has any management over, and with the chilly temperatures of Valencia this time of 12 months, a catastrophe was doubtlessly on the horizon for the grand prix with each Bagnaia and Martin carrying warnings already for breaking this rule.

Mercifully, Bagnaia’s pressures have been superb and the crash for Martin meant even when the world champion was out with the rule, it wouldn’t have mattered. However the truth it was a significant speaking level of the championship decider exhibits how damaging this rule is for MotoGP even with out it affecting outcomes. LD

4. However it robbed a worthy podium finisher and left egg on MotoGP’s face

Di Giannantonio's podium celebrations were short lived in Valencia

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Di Giannantonio’s podium celebrations have been brief lived in Valencia

Minutes after Fabio Di Giannantonio departed the post-race press convention, triumphant in his second consecutive grand prix podium, it was taken away from him courtesy of a three-second tyre stress penalty. Di Giannantonio was the primary actual casualty of the controversial regulation, which got here into impact at this 12 months’s British Grand Prix.

For the 2023 season, a brand new minimal entrance and rear tyre stress was applied, which riders needed to preserve inside for 50% of grands prix and 30% of sprints. From the outset, riders have been sad on the pressured minimal entrance stress being set at 1.88 bar (27.26psi), because it left them little margin to play with earlier than the entrance grew to become tougher to handle as soon as it went above 2.0 bar (29psi).

Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales was the primary to obtain a warning for working beneath the minimal tyre pressures on the Catalan GP, whereas team-mate Aleix Espargaro was the primary to obtain a three-second penalty, handed out for a second offence in Thailand. However till Sunday’s race, no rider had misplaced a podium due to it.

A worthy podium finisher, Di Giannantonio had began eleventh earlier than a valiant cost by means of the sector noticed him cross the road simply 0.176s behind two-time champion Bagnaia.

The time it took to concern the penalty was the opposite concern: Bagnaia noticed the chequered flag at 3.45pm, and the press convention didn’t begin till 5pm. It was one other quarter-hour till Di Giannantonio’s penalty was confirmed, a full 90 minutes after the race ended. Absolutely, with an automatic system, the method ought to be fast sufficient to type any penalties earlier than the post-race press convention?

Though it was a aid that tyre pressures didn’t determine the championship outcome, as some had feared it’d, to see the Gresini rider lose a hard-earned second-place end to the rule felt merciless. With many riders calling for a rethink, maybe this incident might immediate a second have a look at the affect this rule might have in 2025 – and keep away from embarrassing the championship. MW

5. Marquez ‘fought like a champion’ in Honda farewell

The end of an era as Marquez bid farewell to Honda

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The top of an period as Marquez bid farewell to Honda

Marc Marquez’s Honda farewell – not less than for now, as he continues to say – was a blended affair. It began with a superb journey to the rostrum within the dash, one thing he stated was the perfect way to repay the team that gave him his probability in MotoGP and with whom he gained six world titles.

The grand prix didn’t go to plan. A lap one tangle with Marco Bezzecchi (extra on that later) gave solution to a race-ending crash with Martin, after the Pramac rider collided with him at Flip 4 on lap six whereas battling over fifth.

Mercifully escaping critical harm after a heavy fall, Marquez got here away from his closing Honda MotoGP weekend together with his head held excessive and taking place swinging.

“We didn’t end in a great way or in the way in which I would love our relationship with Honda, as a result of truthfully talking I approached the weekend like I used to be preventing for the championship,” Marquez stated.

“I used to be totally concentrated all of the laps, all of the races, all of the practices. Yesterday we achieved the rostrum. At present, I don’t prefer to say it, however the podium was potential as a result of the tempo was there and I felt robust and I used to be managing the tyres.” LD

6. Marini’s manufacturing unit Honda step is sensible in the long term

Marini's move is clearly one with a long-term view

Picture by: German Garcia

Marini’s transfer is clearly one with a long-term view

Whereas stepping away from the perfect bike on the grid would possibly seem to be an odd transfer within the short-term, Marini’s move to Honda announced on Monday permits his desires of creating a manufacturing unit bike – an opportunity he was unlikely to get given the manufacturing unit Ducati seat logjam.

With two-time champion Bagnaia and Enea Bastianini on the manufacturing unit staff, 2023 runner-up Jorge Martin and new arrival Franco Morbidelli at Pramac, three-time GP winner Marco Bezzecchi at VR46 and the Marquez brothers at Gresini, Marini – the one Ducati rider to not win a race this season – was unlikely to see himself on the crimson bike any time quickly.

Talking at Sepang, Marini admitted that going to a manufacturing unit staff was a “fully totally different factor” from being a satellite tv for pc rider, and could be “one thing actually unbelievable”.

When requested by Autosport if it made sense transferring to Honda from a aggressive standpoint, he replied: “You might have the perfect bike, however getting in a manufacturing unit staff and develop your personal bike and speak with the engineers and comply with a route – your route – everyone collectively, is a very totally different factor. 

“I do know that my package deal now could be incredible, the staff is working very nicely, and Ducati is a incredible bike performing nicely each time in each state of affairs, each situation. But additionally, as a rider, I’ve desires to realize and to journey and work for a manufacturing unit staff is one thing actually unbelievable, for my part. However it must be the proper venture, the proper state of affairs.”

He seems to have now discovered that appropriate venture at Honda, with a two-year deal seemingly higher than that provided to different riders thought of for the journey. Stepping out from his brother Valentino Rossi’s staff is a method for Marini to point out that he’s not merely protected by the nine-time world champion, and reignites Rossi’s hyperlinks to the Japanese marque 20 years after his departure from the model he gained the primary of his three MotoGP titles with. MW

7. Bezzecchi rage at Marquez hints at secure conflict in 2024

2024 stablemate's Bezzecchi and Marquez haven't ended the season on good terms

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

2024 stablemate’s Bezzecchi and Marquez have not ended the season on good phrases

The collision between Marc Marquez and Marco Bezzecchi on lap one of many grand prix wasn’t replayed a lot on the world feed in the course of the broadcast. It was investigated by the stewards, however deemed a racing incident.

It made little distinction to Marquez’s grand prix, in the end, however Bezzecchi was not a contented chap when he got here to talk to the media – beer in hand – about his afternoon. He felt Marquez is all the time getting away with incidents like this and that the stewards, nor Dorna Sports activities’ sporting director Carlos Ezpeleta, wouldn’t entertain talking with the Italian.

When requested if he felt Marquez acquired particular therapy from the stewards, he stated: “Sure, for positive. They by no means make nothing to him, as a result of it’s Marquez, and he’s the dirtiest rider.”

Marquez stated he “wouldn’t lose time” enthusiastic about Bezzecchi. However given they are going to be on the identical bike subsequent 12 months and with the expectation of the Ducati secure that you simply don’t go over the restrict with these on Desmosedicis, this tiff threatens to rumble on into 2024.

“For positive he gained’t [race fairly with other Ducatis], however I’ll do the identical,” Bezzecchi added. “I don’t care.” LD

8. Di Giannantonio will get his reprieve

Di Giannantonio's recent form has seen him earn a reprieve with VR46

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Di Giannantonio’s latest type has seen him earn a reprieve with VR46

Regardless of having had his second podium of the season taken away on Sunday, Di Giannantonio has proved himself a worthy contender within the second half of 2023.

He had a troublesome begin to the 12 months, managing simply 5 high 10 finishes within the first 11 rounds, however his type has persistently improved since India. He took eighth place in Japan earlier than ending fourth in Indonesia and scoring his maiden podium in Australia at Philip Island. A first win got here in Qatar, adopted by his third podium go to of the 12 months in Valencia – till the belated penalty name.

Regardless of this, it had appeared potential that Di Giannantonio would possibly discover himself with no journey subsequent 12 months, with rumours that the VR46 seat vacated by Marini could possibly be taken by Moto2 sensation Fermin Aldeguer. Even Ducati sporting director Paolo Ciabatti instructed motogp.com it was “unacceptable” that Di Giannantonio could possibly be left with no journey.

However VR46 saved the day, asserting on Monday that it had opted to signal the Italian for a season alongside Bezzecchi and giving him yet another 12 months to show his value.

It’s a gamble which ought to repay. Having completed twentieth in his rookie season in 2022 with 24 factors and a greatest race end of eighth, Di Giannantonio improved to twelfth this season. If he can proceed his robust upward curve, VR46’s new signing might show to be one of many stronger satellite tv for pc contenders in 2024. MW

9. Michelin finds no manufacturing fault in Martin’s Qatar tyre

Michelin have ruled out a manufacturing fault had anything to do with his poor start in Qatar

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Michelin have dominated out a producing fault had something to do together with his poor begin in Qatar

Martin had a torrid Qatar Grand Prix, struggling to a season-worst tenth within the penultimate race of the season having battled with a scarcity of rear grip from the off. After title rival Bagnaia completed second to take a 21-point lead into the Valencia finale, the Pramac rider said Michelin had ‘stolen’ his championship with its problematic rear tyre.

He rowed again barely on his criticism somewhat, however on Thursday in Valencia, he stated there had been no solutions from Michelin but over what went flawed.

On Friday, Michelin motorsport boss Piero Taramasso stated initial analysis of the tyre showed no manufacturer errors. Although it reasoned that additional work was nonetheless wanted to find out what went flawed, Michelin careworn there was “no high quality drawback” within the laborious compound tyre.

The info the producer has at its disposal did reveal that Martin’s “pressures have been increased in comparison with all different riders entrance and rear” which could possibly be defined by the Spaniard pushing laborious to make up floor from his poor begin.

Taramasso stated: “We noticed various things however at this second we don’t have a transparent reply. We nonetheless have a special speculation. We’ll do some work and evaluation and we are going to come again to you, to the staff if we see one thing extra.” MW

10. RNF collapses as Trackhouse will get set to take over

Legal action and a potential takeover of the RNF team dominated headlines on Monday

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Authorized motion and a possible takeover of the RNF staff dominated headlines on Monday

Over the Valencia weekend, the way forward for the RNF staff was solid unsure as stories emerged a few takeover by NASCAR squad Trackhouse and staff boss Razlan Razali being fired.

RNF – or, to be extra correct, majority proprietor and title accomplice CryptoDATA – rubbished all of this. Then on Monday Dorna introduced that it was rejecting RNF for the 2024 season, citing “repeated infractions and breaches of the Participation Settlement affecting the general public picture of MotoGP have obliged this determination”.

CryptoDATA has taken to social media to threaten Dorna over authorized motion, which isn’t prone to go wherever.

Razali has pointed the finger at CryptoDATA for all of this, confirming it had not paid companions – although Aprilia has been squared up. Autosport additionally discovered from a supply near RNF that CryptoDATA had not paid all of what was agreed to Dorna for sponsoring the Austrian GP.

Autosport then discovered from a supply near Aprilia that Trackhouse will be part of the MotoGP grid subsequent season, taking RNF’s grid slots however assimilating the staff, whereas nearer technical ties might be fashioned with Aprilia.

It’s a narrative that has fully overshadowed the occasions of the 2023 title decider in some ways, whereas it additionally brings to an finish a staff that – although struggled below its new guise as RNF throughout 2022 and 2023 – did convey Quartararo to MotoGP below the Sepang Racing Crew banner and fought for the 2020 title with Morbidelli. LD

The 2024 MotoGP season starts on Tuesday with the Valencia test

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The 2024 MotoGP season begins on Tuesday with the Valencia take a look at



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