MotoGP Rider Ratings – 2023 Australian Grand Prix
On a weekend shortened by the unsteady Phillip Island weather, the Australian Grand Prix provided plenty of MotoGP action. Here are MGP1’s 2023 Australian Grand Prix rider ratings.
Johann Zarco - 10
Race: 1st (+4)
Johann Zarco, starting 5th, achieved a remarkable first premier class victory, displaying flawless racecraft. His strategic brilliance and perfect timing allowed him to secure a memorable win, earning him a well-deserved 10/10 grade.
Francesco Bagnaia - 9
Race: 2nd (+1)
For the second time in a row, the weekend began with challenges for Francesco Bagnaia. However, when the main event arrived, he showcased his championship-winning prowess, delivering a performance that typifies title victories.
Struggling to find his form until the closing moments of qualifying, he timed his fastest lap perfectly and replicated this strategy in the rescheduled race.
Surpassing Martin in the race, and securing a podium finish even though he didn’t claim the top spot, his choice was a deliberate effort to strike a balance between risk and reward.
Fabio Di Giannantonio - 9
Race: 3rd (+3)
Over the last few weeks, Fabio Di Giannantonio has consistently proven his critics wrong, especially those who mocked his ambitious claims there was still potential to be unlocked earlier in the year.
His exceptional strategic ride at Phillip Island led to his debut podium in MotoGP, silencing even more his skeptics. While he’s clearly finding his form, the question now is whether it’s timely enough to secure a seat in MotoGP for 2024.
Brad Binder - 8
Race: 4th (-2)
Although 4th certainly isn’t a bad result for Brad Binder, one can’t shake the feeling that the South African had much greater potential on Saturday, especially considering the KTM’s strong performance and his front-row starting position.
However, in his early race efforts to catch Jorge Martin, he may have demanded too much from his tires. It’s uncommon to see him fare poorly in a group battle, but he seemed to lack that extra edge grip needed to challenge Di Giannantonio for the final podium position.
Jorge Martin - 6
Race: 5th (-4)
Martin’s choice to use a soft rear tire on Saturday afternoon might be recalled as the decision that potentially jeopardized his shot at the world championship
Opting for such a risky move when you’re contending for a title was one of the more silly decisions in 2023. What worsens the situation is that if he had chosen the medium tire, he could have remained competitive against Bagnaia until the end.
Marco Bezzecchi - 7
Race: 6th (+5)
Considering his still battered shoulder, it wouldn’t have been unexpected to witness Marco Bezzecchi facing challenges at the rigorous Phillip Island circuit.
Despite his physical condition and the fractures from the previous week’s race in Mandalika, Bezzecchi displayed astonishing resilience.
Impressively, for the second consecutive week, he managed to maintain his battle for the third position in the championship against Brad Binder, minimizing the impact of Binder’s advances with a steady, if not outstanding, performance.
Jack Miller - 6
Race: 7th (+1)
Jack Miller’s performance in the race wasn’t his poorest this season; he managed to secure a respectable seventh place as he crossed the finish line.
Despite this, the presence of fierce competition for the top spot and the enthusiastic support of his home crowd likely left him with a sense of disappointment.
This feeling was amplified considering the strong performance of the KTM RC16 during the weekend, making the missed opportunity at his home Grand Prix more palpable.
Aleix Espargaro - 4
Race: 8th (-4)
Aleix Espargaro openly expressed his disappointment after Saturday’s race, labeling the team’s performance over the weekend as rather disappointing.
The Spaniard’s reaction revealed his high expectations for the Phillip Island circuit, where Aprilia should have been leading the pack.
Unfortunately, the weekend took a wrong turn due to their inability to address various issues, leaving Espargaro frustrated as he watched the battle for victory unfold with a sense of discontent.
Alex Marquez - 6
Race: 9th (+4)
Enduring the discomfort of broken ribs, Alex Marquez faced a challenging weekend on one of the most physically demanding tracks of the season.
His finishing position, relative to other Ducati riders, showcased the impact of his pain. However, there are indications that his form is gradually resurfacing, providing a glimmer of hope for the Gresini rider.
Despite anticipating another tough battle in Thailand next weekend, there is an expectation that his performance will improve as the season progresses.
Enea Bastianini - 5
Race: 10th (+2)
It was yet another unremarkable weekend for the second factory Ducati rider, raising questions about the decision to retain him for the 2024 season instead of promoting Martin.
Although Bastianini is still recovering from recent injuries, his lackluster performance at Phillip Island seemed more related to struggling with the unique circuit rather than any lingering effects from his past injuries sustained six weeks ago.
Maverick Vinales - 4
Race: 11th (-2)
By the end of Friday’s practice sessions, Maverick Vinales was highly optimistic about his prospects for the weekend, highlighting the impressive pace and his comfort on the bike.
However, his confidence didn’t translate into a strong performance when it mattered. It seemed like another missed opportunity for Vinales to secure a win for Aprilia, as he and the team struggled to address lingering performance issues with the machine, hindering his overall race performance.
Luca Marini - 5
Race: 12th (+6)
Despite still coping with shoulder injuries from India, Luca Marini faced a challenging weekend, exacerbated by the fact that his VR46 teammate, Bezzecchi, who was dealing with similar injuries, outperformed him.
Marini struggled to find the rear grip he needed at Phillip Island, a problem distinct to him among Ducati riders.
Additionally, he was involved in the incident that led to Joan Mir’s crash, making his weekend one to forget as his performance fell short of expectations.
Miguel Oliveira - 4
Race: 13th (+6)
Miguel Oliveira’s presence in Australia went largely unnoticed, as the RNF Aprilia rider struggled to make an impact.
He failed to find any form throughout the weekend, contrasting sharply with his fellow RS-GP riders. Consequently, his performance was disappointing, resulting in just a few points.
It’s plausible that intense speculation about his 2024 plans, particularly regarding a potential move to Repsol Honda, might have affected his focus and contributed to his lackluster showing.
Fabio Quartararo - 3
Race: 14th (+2)
Fabio Quartararo’s performance at a track where Yamaha’s M1 has historically excelled was far below expectations.
Despite the bike’s renowned capabilities, Quartararo struggled, citing the loss of Yamaha’s once-amazing turning ability and continued issues with straight-line speed.
While these challenges explain the struggle, it’s disheartening to observe Quartararo’s seeming lack of motivation, indicating a potential disengagement from the competition.
Marc Marquez - 6
Race: 15th (-8)
Marc Marquez made a daring last-minute choice to switch from a medium to a soft tire, clearly indicating his intention to engage aggressively in the early race battles at a beloved circuit.
Despite knowing the risks, his fearless approach showcased his willingness to take chances and enjoy the thrill of racing, even if it meant sacrificing a higher finishing position. Marquez’s audacity and determination deserve recognition, earning him a respectable grade of 6.
Raul Fernandez - 4
Race: 16th (-2)
In recent races, Raul Fernandez has shown consistent improvement as he adapts to the satellite Aprilia. At Phillip Island, he seemed poised for a strong performance.
However, errors during the race thwarted his opportunity, leading to a result that fell below his expectations.
Franco Morbidelli - 2
Race: 17th (±0)
While Franco Morbidelli managed to finish relatively close to his Yamaha teammate Quartararo, the positives end there.
Virtually everything else in his performance raised concerns, indicating a lack of effective strategies. With the season nearing its end, Morbidelli’s frustration is evident, especially as he watches the bike he will ride in 2024 secure a victory.
Subbing in for Alex Rins the Spaniard’s job was to stay out of trouble, collect some data and bring the bike home. Still finishing ahead of one or the other established MotoGP rider would have been nice considering Lecuona started 17th on the grid.
Pol Espargaro - 4
Race: 18th (-7)
A group of riders opted for a risky strategy by choosing soft tires for Saturday’s race, and among them, Pol Espargaro’s choice was understandable.
His decision was based on a strong qualifying performance and an attempt to gain an edge in the race. Despite sliding back through the pack due to the less durable rear tire, considering his expectations and physical condition, his choice wasn’t entirely imprudent.
Takaaki Nakagami - 5
Race: 19th (+2)
Taka Nakagami’s current approach seems methodical, focusing on development and data collection for Honda, which proves more beneficial than the erratic performances of other riders.
While his steady approach may not secure race wins, it contributes to enhancing the RC213V for the 2024 season.
Augusto Fernandez - 4
Augusto Fernandez experienced a rollercoaster season, and Australia was no exception. Despite displaying impressive pace in qualifying, his performance didn’t carry into the race.
While he faced disappointment missing Q2 due to a grid penalty, being selected by Marc Marquez for a fast Q1 lap signifies progress for the rookie this season.
Joan Mir - 1
Joan Mir’s 2023 season has been marred by crashes, and Phillip Island was another instance. While this weekend’s crash wasn’t entirely his fault, with a little assistance from Marini, it underscores the lack of optimism for the 2020 world champion this year.
The hope for a change rests on the upcoming year and a new team-mate, but time is running out for Mir.