In what will prove to be a historic event for Indian motorsport, India will shortly make its debut on the MotoGP calendar. It is the culmination of years of work to bring premier international racing back to Buddh International Circuit, which last held a major championship of this kind in 2013 with the F1 Indian GP. The circuit has looked at hosting important two-wheeler series before, and finally this weekend, MotoGP enthusiasts all over India will witness this exciting spectacle unfold here, in their own country. The 13th leg of the ongoing championship will see some of the top racers from the world of MotoGP, including Marc Marquez, Francesco Bagnaia, Fabio Quartararo, and others, compete on Indian soil from September 22 to 24, 2023, at the BIC. A remarkable lineup of 22 riders from 11 teams will be there on the BIC grid, going for the win in an anticipated thrilling race. The bikes will be provided by prominent manufacturers including Honda, Yamaha, KTM, Ducati, and Aprilia, and will be ridden by two riders from each team. Let's have a look at all the participating riders and their respective teams.
Team Prima Pramac Racing
Johann Zarco (France)
In 2015 and 2016, Johann Zarco won back-to-back Moto2 World Championships. In 2017, he teamed up with Tech3 Yamaha for the MotoGP season. Zarco found an enticing opportunity with Ducati in 2020 after a successful stint with Yamaha and an underwhelming time at KTM in 2019. Zarco is now racing in his fourth season, his third with Prima Pramac, and the number 5 with the Bologna factory. He has won 13 podiums to go along with his six victories with Yamaha.
Jorge Martín Almoguera (Spain)
Martin is vying for the championship in 2023 as he tries to catch up to Ducati opponent Bagnaia after being unsuccessful in 2022.
Team Mooney VR46 Racing
Luca Marini (Italy)
Luca Marini, Valentino Rossi's half-brother, and the 2013 Moto3 wildcard, made his Grand Prix debut in the said year and switched to Moto2 full-time in 2016. Marini's breakthrough season was in 2018, and from then until his transition to MotoGP in 2020, he won six Moto2 races. At the Americas GP in 2023, he won his first MotoGP Sunday podium and has since established himself with the Mooney VR46 Racing Team as a consistent top-six performer.
Marco Bezzecchi (Italy)
Although it would be a tough order, the Italian has been exceptionally impressive so far this year, and Bezzecchi might end the year as the World Champion.
Team Ducati Lenovo
Francesco Bagnaia (Italy)
After winning the 2018 Moto2 championship, Francesco Bagnaia made his MotoGP debut four years back in 2019. At Aragon in 2021, he achieved his first MotoGP victory, but a title challenge eventually eluded him. Despite a sluggish start in 2022 that left him 91 points behind Quartararo, Bagnaia produced a strong second half that finally put him in a position to win the championship at the season's end. For the 2023 season, he has been the rider to beat as he dons the Number 1 spot. The Italian is in the lead in the championship as the year comes to a close thanks to five Weekend triumphs, including three Sprint and Race doubles.
Enea Bastianini (Italy)
Enea Bastianini won the Moto2 World Championship in 2020 and immediately established himself in the elite category. In his rookie season, the rider picked up his first MotoGP podium, and his next campaign saw a debut victory. At Gresini, despite riding a bike that was a year old, Bastianini won four races and took third place. His stellar year, which earned him a factory seat with Bagnaia for 2023, was recently marred by a shoulder blade injury sustained in Portugal. At the Catalan Grand Prix, this Ducati star rider sustained hand and ankle injuries and therefore, will not be competing at the Bharat GP.
Team Aprilia Racing
Aleix Espargaro (Spain)
Aleix Espargaro, a 34-year-old Spaniard racing in his 13th consecutive premier class season, is the most experienced rider on the starting grid. Espargaro's first podium finish came in 2014 while riding a not-so-powerful Forward Yamaha, and in 2017, his Aprilia journey began following two years with Suzuki. The years were challenging, but in 2021 Aprilia finally took the podium. Then, in 2022, Espargaro won his first Grand Prix and gave Aprilia its first in MotoGP, capping off a tremendously successful season with a P4 finish in the Championship. Espargaro won two races at the Catalan GP to resume his winning ways after a sluggish start in 2023.
Maverick Vinales (Spain)
With the Noale plant, Vinales has achieved four podium finishes thus far, including two in 2022 and two in 2023 as their partnership continues to grow stronger.
Team Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Jack Miller (Australia)
Jack Miller's progression to MotoGP is a unique one because the Australian driver moved directly from Moto3 to the top-tier division in 2015. Miller's first MotoGP victory came in 2016 at Assen while racing for Independent Team Honda. He subsequently had a successful run with Ducati for a few years, first with Prima Pramac and then in the factory setup, before going to Red Bull KTM Factory Racing for 2023, his third MotoGP manufacturer. The Australian has previously had Sprint podium victory but is still waiting for factory orange success on Sunday.
Brad Binder (South Africa)
After Binder won his third-ever premier class race, KTM and Binder struggled in 2021 and 2022, but 2023 has seen both rider and factory make a much-welcomed comeback. Big things are in store for the rider, who will continue to work for KTM at least through the end of 2026.
Team Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP
Fabio Quartararo (France)
In France, Fabio Quartararo won his maiden race in the top division of racing in 2021 after impressing as a rookie in the MotoGP division in 2019 and adding to his tally of victories in 2020. The French rider finished in second place after a thrilling title race with Francesco Bagnaia, which was decided at the final race of the season a year later.
Franco Morbidelli (Italy)
Morbidelli shined in 2020 when he finished second in the Championship after making his MotoGP debut in 2018 as the defending Moto2 World Champion. He was one of the top contenders for the title in 2021 due to his performance, but a knee injury derailed his campaign. At Monster Energy Yamaha that year, Morbidelli collaborated with Quartararo.
Team Gresini Racing MotoGP
Alex Marquez (Spain)
Alex Marquez, the younger Marquez brother, won the 2014 Moto3 and 2019 Moto2 titles, making him a double World Champion in his own capacity. Consecutive P2 finishes came in his first MotoGP season with Repsol Honda before two trying years with LCR Honda. However, with Marquez already having placed on the podium on Sunday and winning the Sprint in his first season with Ducati, a fresh start with Gresini Racing was just what was required for 2023.
Fabio Di Giannantonio (Italy)
Fabio Di Giannantonio, a Moto3 and Moto2 race winner who moved to the premier class in 2022, had a memorable debut season when he won the pole position at his home Grand Prix at Mugello. The rider remained with Gresini through 2023 and has gone into the top 10 on five Sundays, with the Italian hoping for many more of those results before the season is up.
Team CryptoData RNF MotoGP
Miguel Oliveira (Portugal)
Miguel Oliveira is considered one of the quickest riders on the starting grid who has never won a World Championship. However, he also holds the distinction of being Portugal's first-ever premier-class race victor. A debut MotoGP victory by Oliveira in 2020, who came close in Moto3 and Moto2, gave Tech3 their first race win in more than 20 years. After winning the Portuguese Grand Prix later that year and three more races with Red Bull KTM in 2021 and 2022, Oliveira embarked on a new journey with the CryptoData RNF MotoGP Team for the 2023 season. Although the rider has had an underwhelming year thus far, there have been a few opportunities to see Oliveira's actual ability.
Raul Fernandez (Spain)
Raul Fernandez established himself in the 2020 Moto3 World Championship before smashing all previous records in his 2021 Moto2 rookie season. Fernandez, who just missed winning the championship that year, switched to MotoGP in 2022 with Tech3 KTM. After a challenging first season, the Spaniard joined Aprilia's new Independent Team for 2023 with great expectations. Moreover, Fernandez has yet to reach his full potential in an injury-plagued season.
Team LCR Honda
Alex Rins (Spain)
Alex Rins has six MotoGP victories, the most recent coming at this year's Americas GP in his first year with Honda. Rins has five previous premier class victories with Suzuki, and he is also an eight-time Moto3 and four-time Moto2 winner. Rins' promising first season with Honda was cut short when he injured his leg at Mugello, forcing him to miss the next five races. Rins will try to regain his form upon his return before joining Yamaha in 2024.
Takaaki Nakagami (Japan)
The acclaimed LCR Honda Idemitsu rider from Japan, who is starting his sixth season, is still searching for his first triumph in the premier category.
Team GasGas Factory Racing Tech3
Pol Espargaro (Spain)
Pol Espargaro, the 2013 Moto2 World Champion, is in his tenth season competing in the MotoGP series. The Spaniard has raced for Yamaha, KTM, Honda, and currently GASGAS. The younger Espargaro twin reunited with Tech3 for 2023 after a difficult couple of seasons with Repsol Honda, but a severe crash in Portugal's season-opening race kept the #44 out of action until the British Grand Prix. Espargaro has demonstrated his tenacity over the most difficult season of his career, and he aims to add to his eight MotoGP podium finishes before the season concludes.
Augusto Fernández Guerra (Spain)
The only rookie on the 2023 MotoGP grid is reigning Moto2 World Champion Augusto Fernandez. The French GP performance of Fernandez, who has three top-10 finishes overall and has scored points in every race this season, has been his highlight performance in the premier class thus far.
Repsol Honda Team
Marc Marquez (Spain)
Espargaro has proven his perseverance over the most challenging season of his career, and he hopes to add to his eight podium results in the MotoGP before the season comes to an end. The #93 suffered a right humerus fracture in an incident during the Spanish Grand Prix in 2020, sidelining him till 2021. Marquez underwent four operations before making a full recovery and coming back in 2023. Injury setbacks and a faltering Honda, however, have made the 2023 season less than ideal for the older Marquez sibling.
Joan Mir (Spain)
It has been the Spaniard's worst year to date as Honda's issues continue and Mir's first season with the legendary factory was hindered by ailments. In order to be ready for 2024, the two-time World Champion will attempt to finish the year strong.