MotoGP 2023 Review: New Rider Rins Wins One Round, Marquez on Podium in Japan

In the 20-round 2023 MotoGP World Championship, Repsol Honda Team was represented by six-time world champion Marc Marquez and his new teammate 2020 MotoGP champion Joan Mir.

MotoGP 2023 Review: New Rider Rins Wins One Round, Marquez on Podium in Japan

Takaaki Nakagami rode for LCR Honda IDEMITSU in his sixth season with the team, while LCR Honda CASTROL was represented by newcomer Alex Rins. All four riders rode 2023 model RC213V factory bikes.

Marquez Takes Pole in Season-opener, Rins Wins

Starting this season, sprint races, contested over half the distance of the regular races, were newly added to each round. In the opening round in Portugal, Marquez qualified on pole position. In the inaugural sprint race, he was off to a strong start with a third place finish. However, in the race the following day, Marquez suffered a disappointing crash and retired, and was forced to miss the following three rounds due to a broken right thumb.

The third round, the Grand Prix of The Americas, was held at the Circuit of the Americas, where Rins won his first MotoGP race in 2019. Rins demonstrated his affinity for the track, qualifying second and finishing on the podium in the sprint race, going on to maintain a fast pace in the race to take the lead and win his first GP since the final round last year, and his first since joining Honda.

Alex Rins at Round 3, the Grand Prix of The Americas
Alex Rins at Round 3, the Grand Prix of The Americas

Marquez Returns but Struggles

In Round 5, France, Marquez, who returned after a three-race absence, was immediately back to business fighting for the podium. He qualified second and finished fifth in the sprint. In the race, he was in contention for the lead, but crashed in the closing laps. Nakagami was the top finisher in this race, crossing the line ninth.

In Round 6, Italy, Mir crashed in Friday's session and missed the race. Marquez qualified on the front row for the second consecutive race, but crashed and retired.

Nakagami finished 13th in Round 6 and 14th in Round 7, Germany. In Round 8, the Netherlands, the Japanese rider took the checkered flag in eighth place, his best result of the season, and brought valuable points to the team.

Takaaki Nakagami at Round 8, the Netherlands
Takaaki Nakagami at Round 8, the Netherlands

Standing in for injured Mir in Round 8 was Iker Lecuona. He was the lone Repsol Honda Team representative as Marquez was out due to an aggravated injury, and although he returned to the pits after 14 laps due to technical issues, he was still able to fight for the top 10.

Iker Lecuona at Round 8, the Netherlands
Iker Lecuona at Round 8, the Netherlands

In the 10th round, the Austrian GP, Marquez, who had suffered a series of crashes, steadily improved his position through the crowded field to finish 12th, back into the points.

In Round 11, Catalunya, Marquez and Nakagami took the checkered flag in 13th and 15th places, respectively, amid multiple crashes right after the start. In the 12th round in San Marino, Marquez improved on his best result of the season with a seventh place finish.

In Round 13, the inaugural Indian round, the two Repsol Honda Team riders rode well in the harsh conditions, with temperatures reaching 33℃ and humidity exceeding 65%. In the sprint race, Marquez started well from sixth position to finish third. Mir crashed during the sprint, but set his best result of the season in the race, finishing fifth. Marquez, who was in contention for the podium from the beginning, crashed on lap 6, but was able to catch up and finish ninth. Nakagami also scored points with an 11th-place finish, heading into his home race in Japan in good form.

Joan Mir at Round 13, India
Joan Mir at Round 13, India

A Romantic Podium at Home Race

Weather for Round 14, Japan, was unstable due to rain, but Marquez skillfully positioned himself in the lead group early on in the race, and was running in third when the red flag stopped proceedings on lap 12.  Marquez commented that being on the podium with so many fans and Honda people supporting him was “quite romantic.” Nakagami finished 11th in his home GP, while Mir finished 12th and Bradl, who stood in for Rins, finished 14th, all scoring points.

Marc Marquez at Round 14, Japan
Marc Marquez at Round 14, Japan

On October 4, three days after the conclusion of the Japanese GP, an announcement shocked Honda and the MotoGP world: Marquez and HRC had agreed to terminate their contract through to the 2024 season early, leaving only six races remaining for Marquez and the team who had won 59 races and six championships over 11 years together.

Marquez fought hard with the team until the end, finishing sixth in the 17th round in Thailand. In the final round in Valencia, he wore a special helmet with the words “Thanks” as he rode his last race as an HRC rider.

Marc Marquez at Round 20, Valencia
Marc Marquez at Round 20, Valencia

Marquez qualified 9th on the grid in Q2, made a solid start in the sprint to join the podium contenders. He continued to ride on the edge until the last laps of the race, finishing in an impressive third place, unable to hide his emotions on the podium. In the race, he was in the top group, but collided with another rider and crashed. Although he was unable to take the checkered flag, his final ride for Honda was one to remember.

Marc Marquez at Round 20, Valencia
Marc Marquez at Round 20, Valencia

Honda's MotoGP teams had a difficult 2023 season with a string of crashes, retirements, and injuries. There were, however, some impressive moments, such as Rins’ victory in Round 3 and Marquez's performance in the Japanese GP and the final round.

Race Report

Rd.01 Portugal:Marquez tumbles, Rins Tenth In Honda MotoGP Debut

Rd.02 Argentina:Determined Rins Fights For Fifth, Finishes Ninth In Argentina

Rd.03 America:Rins Wins For Honda In Brilliant COTA Performance

Rd.04 Spain:Nakagami Finishes In Top Ten In Baking-Hot Spanish GP

Repsol Honda Team

Rd.05 France:Marquez shows his speed and fights for podium in 1000th Grand Prix

Rd.06 Italy:Italian GP podium challenge ends in disappointment for Marquez

Rd.08 TT Assen:Lecuona roars into top ten contention in Assen

Rd.09 British:Repsol Honda Team endure double DNF in complicated British GP

Rd.10 Austria:Marquez returns to the points in race of mixed fortunes for the Repsol Honda Team

Rd.11 Catalunya:Repsol Honda Team riders stay safe in dramatic Catalan GP

Rd.12 San Marino:Marquez Continues Upward Trajectory with Best Result of 2023

Rd.13 India:Mir shows his best with fifth in scorching Indian GP, Marquez authors classic comeback

Rd.14 Japan:Marquez makes ‘romantic’ return to podium in waterlogged Japanese GP

Rd.15 Indonesia:Double DNF for Repsol Honda Team at the Indonesian GP

Rd.16 Australia:Repsol Honda Team work for more after Australia’s first Saturday Grand Prix

Rd.17 Thailand:Marquez and Mir Fight Until the Very End in Red-hot Buriram spectacular

Rd.18 Malaysia:Marquez Fights into the Points as Mir Falls Early in Malaysian GP

Rd.19 Qatar:Marquez Fights for Top Ten, Mir Builds Confidence with Points

Rd.20 Valencia:The end of an era for Marquez and the Repsol Honda Team


Rd.05 France:Takaaki Nakagami takes ninth position in Le Mans

Rd.06 Italy:Takaaki Nakagami Takes Points In Mugello

Rd.07 Germany:Takaaki Nakagami Takes Points at the Sachsenring

Rd.08 TT Assen:Takaaki Nakagami Takes 8th Position in Assen

Rd.09 British:Challenging race at the Silverstone

Rd.10 Austria:Demanding race for Nakagami in Austria

Rd.11 Catalunya:Nakagami Takes Points in Barcelona

Rd.12 San Marino:A Race to Forget for Nakagami in Misano

Rd.13 India:Nakagami Completes the Grand Prix of India

Rd.14 Japan:Valuable Points for Nakagami in Japan

Rd.15 Indonesia:Alex Rins Takes Points in Mandalika

Rd.16 Australia:A Race to Forget for Nakagami in Australia

Rd.17 Thailand:Solid Race for Nakagami in Thailand

Rd.18 Malaysia:Solid Race for Iker Lecuona in Malaysia

Rd.19 Qatar:Complicated Race for Nakagami in Qatar

Rd.20 Valencia:The 2023 comes to its end with some points for Nakagami


Pos. Rider Num. Team Constr. Pts
1 Francesco BAGNAIA 27 Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 467
2 Jorge MARTIN 89 Prima Pramac Racing Ducati 428
3 Marco BEZZECCHI 72 Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati 329
4 Brad BINDER 33 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 293
5 Johann ZARCO 5 Prima Pramac Racing Ducati 225
6 Aleix ESPARGARO 41 Aprilia Racing Aprilia 206
14 Marc MÁRQUEZ 93 Repsol Honda Team Honda 96
18 Takaaki NAKAGAMI 30 LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 56
19 Alex RINS 42 LCR Honda CASTROL Honda 54
22 Joan MIR 36 Repsol Honda Team Honda 26
26 Stefan BRADL 6 LCR Honda CASTROL Honda 8

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