MotoGP Rider Ratings - Indian Grand Prix
On a weekend dominated by Marco Bezzecchi, MotoGP provided plenty of stories across the field. Here are MGP1’s 2023 Indian Grand Prix rider ratings.
Marco Bezzecchi - 10
Sprint: 5th (-4)
Race: 1st (±0)
What should have been a dominant performance for Marco Bezzecchi at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, with a clean sweep of pole position and two wins, turned into just one victory and a fifth-place finish.
Bezzecchi’s exceptional speed was evident, and only a collision with his teammate Luca Marini on the first lap of the sprint race impeded his progress.
If Bezzecchi can maintain this level of performance, he might consider this weekend as a pivotal moment in his late-season championship challenge against Pecco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin.
Jorge Martin - 9
Sprint: 1st (+1)
Race: 2nd (±0)
Capable of securing a decisive sprint race win on Saturday when Bezzecchi was essentially removed from contention, receiving a substantial championship advantage on Sunday due to Bagnaia’s unfortunate blunder, and ultimately fortunate to reach the finish line despite contending with challenges like unzipping leathers and heatstroke, luck undeniably played a significant role in favor of Jorge Martin at the Buddh circuit.
This acknowledgment doesn’t diminish his inherent speed, but it’s worth noting that the outcome could have easily swung in the opposite direction, making it a remarkable stroke of luck for the rider to emerge from these challenges with a positive disposition.
Fabio Quartararo - 8
Sprint: 6th (+2)
Race: 3rd (+5)
Considering the track layout, especially its lengthy straights, Fabio Quartararo didn’t seem to have a Yamaha capable of landing on the podium at Buddh.
Nevertheless, that’s precisely how he concluded his best weekend of the year. Not only did he equal his best result of the year, but he also engaged in overtaking maneuvers to secure it.
his might not signify an abrupt turnaround for the Iwata factory, but it should offer anyone at Yamaha some confidence about the direction to go ahead of their home Grand Prix in Motegi.
Of course, this confidence will grow stronger if they can replicate such performances in the upcoming race weekends.
Brad Binder - 8
Sprint: 4th (+10)
Race: 4th (+10)
Critiquing Brad Binder’s weekend, where he secured fourth place in both races, proves challenging. However, it does leave a sense that there was A LOT of untapped potential for the South African.
His once again subpar qualifying performance left him with a significant deficit to make up, preventing him from reaching the podium on both occasions.
This becomes especially noteworthy as his championship rival, Bezzecchi, enjoyed an impressive Sunday, underscoring the significance of Saturday morning sessions in contemporary MotoGP.
Binder not only relinquished valuable points but also highlighted the importance of strong Saturday showings in the championship race.
Joan Mir - 8
Race: 5th (±0)
Among all the MotoGP riders, none needed a strong performance more desperately than Joan Mir. After somehow taming the RC213V for a top-five finish on Sunday, he appeared revitalized.
Although showing glimpses of his 2023 struggles on Saturday when the Spaniard threw away a solid points finish early on, his Indian Grand Prix performance is nevertheless a testament to his competitiveness.
That he felt disappointment rather than elation after the race, attributing it to a rear chatter issue that he believes cost him a potential podium position emphasizes Mir’s professionalism.
Nonetheless, this serves as a compelling reminder of the true talent possessed by the 2020 title winner, which is often constrained by the limitations of the Honda. It will be intriguing to see if he has truly turned a new page in the upcoming weekend.
Johann Zarco - 7
Race: 6th (+1)
The Indian Grand Prix proved to be a usual Johann Zarco weekend. The Frenchman was struggling more than his fellow Ducati riders in the hot conditions, but, nonetheless, demonstrated his resilience by achieving a commendable result.
His decision to retire from the sprint race after a crash, presumably to conserve energy for Sunday, appears to have been a wise strategy. Although he couldn’t quite attain the top spot in the race, it seemed to have paid off quite well.
Franco Morbidelli - 6
Sprint: 15th (+2)
Race: 7th (+10)
The only aspect working against Franco Morbidelli’s narrative this weekend is the fact that his teammate Quartararo secured a podium finish. Aside from that, it was undeniably one of the standout Sundays of 2023 for the Italian rider.
Despite his Saturday performance being hindered by early chaos that pushed him down the grid, Morbidelli’s remarkable ability to slice through the field and gain ten positions in the main race bodes positively for Yamaha’s aspirations to improve the M1, even though Morbidelli won’t be riding one next season.
Maverick Vinales - 7
Sprint: 8th (+1)
Race: 8th (+1)
It was a somewhat underwhelming weekend for Maverick Vinales, despite occasional glimpses of strong pace. He’s likely concerned that the Aprilia flyaway curse might once again be a hindrance.
Sunday’s race had more potential, but circumstances beyond his control, like being pushed wide at Turn 1, prevented him from delivering. However, Vinales will be eagerly monitoring how the progress he believes he made carries over to the upcoming Motegi race.
Marc Marquez - 7
Sprint: 3rd (+3)
Race: 9th (-3)
Among all the riders who could use a fresh start at a new circuit, Marc Marquez was certainly one of them. To his credit, when the opportunity presented itself, he seized it with enthusiasm, perhaps even a bit too much.
After finally returning to the podium in the sprint race, he had his sights set on a similar outcome on Sunday. Unfortunately, he pushed the limits a bit too far and ended up crashing out.
Nonetheless, his impressive recovery to ninth place underscored the essential message – Marc Marquez remains an exceptional talent in the world of MotoGP.
Raul Fernandez - 7
Sprint: 9th (+2)
Race: 10th (+1)
At the start of the weekend, when Raul Fernandez confidently predicted that he would occasionally challenge for podiums by the season’s end, it drew some skepticism.
However, the truth is that the Spanish rider is steadily and impressively shaping his season, currently displaying greater speed than he has ever shown in his MotoGP career to date.
The long-recognized potential in Fernandez is now being fully unleashed, and despite encountering a few obstacles that were beyond his control in India, his speed is becoming increasingly evident. Keeping an eye on his performance in the upcoming weeks will certainly be intriguing.
Takaaki Nakagami - 5
Sprint: 13th (+2)
Race: 11th (+4)
Considering the condition he was in when he arrived at his home race a year ago, it’s not entirely unexpected that Taka Nakagami admitted to taking it a bit easier at Buddh, just a week before Motegi.
However, given the impressive pace shown by his fellow Honda riders, it seems this approach might not have been the best strategy.
Now, it’s crucial for Nakagami to diligently analyze the data from his teammates to determine how he can harness their speed for his advantage in Japan.
Miguel Oliveira - 6
Sprint: 12th (+7)
Race: 12th (+7)
Miguel Oliveira’s weekend didn’t provide much to get excited about, and it’s somewhat challenging to pinpoint the exact reasons for the difficulties faced by the Portuguese racer.
He was notably outperformed by his teammate Raul Fernandez for the first time, and Oliveira himself couldn’t quite identify what went amiss in the scorching heat.
While it’s not the first time we’ve witnessed an Aprilia grappling with such conditions, it’s a relatively new experience for him. However, considering the upcoming races on the calendar, it’s a challenge he will need to address diligently.
Pol Espargaro - 6
Race: 13th (+7)
Nobody anticipated that this weekend’s race would evolve into an incredibly demanding physical test. Consequently, Pol Espargaro likely didn’t anticipate facing his most strenuous challenge since his Portimao accident.
Even after six months, he has not fully recovered from that incident, and this was evident in Sunday’s race. Unfortunately, he didn’t get an opportunity to demonstrate his capabilities on Saturday due to another chaotic opening corner incident.
Stefan Bradl collided with him after contact with Espargaro’s teammate, Augusto Fernandez, adding to the challenges Espargaro faced over the weekend.
Jack Miller - 4
Sprint: 7th (+9)
Race: 14th (+2)
Considering that the high temperatures, which Jack Miller is accustomed to, had a more significant impact on most of the grid than on the Australian rider from northern Queensland, one would have anticipated a strong opportunity for him to rebound after a series of lackluster weekends.
However, the weekend unfolded in the opposite direction, yielding only three points out of the potential 37.
For the Red Bull KTM rider, this situation is a bit of a nightmare, with the added pressure regarding his future clearly affecting him.
It’s a factor that’s unlikely to boost his confidence but is something he urgently needs to set aside to regain his form.
Stefan Bradl - 3
Race: 15th (+6)
Test riders, even when they temporarily step in to replace injured racers, are typically expected to stay in the background, but Bradl’s presence was hard to miss during the first corner of Saturday’s sprint race.
He was involved in a collision with Augusto Fernandez and Pol Espargaro, making a somewhat foolish error that could have resulted in quite some horrific injuries.
Fortunately, Bradl had an opportunity to make amends on Sunday, securing a single point in the main race as full-time rider Alex Rins continued to be sidelined due to injury.
Michele Pirro - 6
Sprint: 14th (+8)
Race: 16th (+6)
There isn’t much to elaborate on regarding the appearance of the Ducati test rider in the Indian Grand Prix, even though he was stepping in as a replacement for the injured Enea Bastianini rather than competing as a wildcard.
He fulfilled his role by riding, collecting data, and without causing any major excitement, which aligns perfectly with the expectations for a dependable and experienced rider like Pirro.
Fabio Di Giannantonio - 6
Sprint: 10nd (+3)
Fabio Di Giannantonio’s challenging weekend at the Indian Grand Prix has somewhat escaped widespread attention.
He continued to contend with the shoulder injury he sustained at Misano, and the fact that he retired from the race, surrendering a potential top-10 finish with only two laps remaining, speaks volumes about the pain he endured.
It’s unfortunate because the outcome adds to a series of weekends where he demonstrated speed but had little to show for it in terms of results.
Francesco Bagnaia - 4
Sprint: 2nd (+1)
There’s no sugarcoating it: the defending world champion, Bagnaia, made a rather foolish move on Sunday.
Leading into the weekend, he was fully aware that the braking issues they encountered at Misano hadn’t been completely resolved. Despite a crucial result on Saturday, he pushed the bike too hard on Sunday, attempting to distance himself from Martin.
His goal was to increase his championship lead, but instead, he ended up significantly reducing it. This could potentially become a costly mistake if the Spaniard continues to perform well in the races to come.
Aleix Espargaro - 1
t’s becoming a recurring pattern that Aleix Espargaro, ironically one of the fittest racers on the grid, experiences a dip in form when temperatures rise. Buddh marked the beginning of what he hopes isn’t a new trend in 2023.
Throughout the weekend, he struggled with pace, and his frustration reached a peak during qualifying when a timing error led to a heated exchange with his team. He further compounded his woes by crashing out of the sprint race and, to top it all off, experiencing a breakdown in the main race. Undoubtedly, it’s a weekend he’d rather forget.
Augusto Fernandez - 5
Sprint: 11th (+7)
It’s disappointing that we were denied the opportunity to witness where Tech3 Gas Gas rider Augusto Fernandez could have placed in Sunday’s race. Unfortunately, another ride height device failure, a recurring issue across the grid lately, prematurely ended his race.
However, beginning on an even footing at a completely new circuit, Fernandez showcased his impressive adaptation to the championship.
He consistently posted strong lap times, even though he hasn’t translated that into tangible results just yet.
Luca Marini - 1
If Luca Marini had crashed out of Saturday’s sprint race on the first lap by himself, there would have been nothing but sympathy for the Italian as he prepares for surgery to have a metal plate inserted onto his broken left collarbone.
However, he wasn’t alone in the incident, and his carelessness significantly impacted the race-winning aspirations of his teammate, Bezzecchi. This isn’t characteristic of Marini, who is typically a sensible rider.
Nevertheless, he is paying a hefty price for his mistake by missing the next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.