New challenges, new era: MotoGP™ set to thrill in 2024

Four key storylines will dominate the chat ahead of Round 1, and we take a look at the big talking points

We are less than 3 weeks away from the start of the 2024 MotoGP™ World Championship, with pre-season testing throwing up more questions than answers. There are four key storylines heading into Round 1 of the season at the Lusail International Circuit, and we’re going to look at them here. Plus, don’t forget you won’t miss a second of the action this year with MotoGP™ VideoPass.

HAT-TRICK HERO

It’s hard to argue against the fact that World Champion Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) is the strong favourite heading into the new year after a sizzling pre-season performance. The two-time premier class king smashed the lap record in both Malaysia and Qatar, to fire out a warning shot to all of the men keen to steal his #1 in 2024. It appears the new Bologna bullet has somehow taken yet another step forward in terms of performance, with Bagnaia gelling with it almost instantly.

We’ve seen unforced errors from Bagnaia over the last few years when put under pressure, so can any of his chief title rivals do the same this year? They’ll have to start fast to stop the Italian getting into any kind of rhythm.

THE FINAL HURDLE

Getting so close and missing out at the very end can have two effects on people: drive them forward the following year to greater success, or have them suffering from the hangover of the year before. Prima Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin has without doubt grown from the experience of last year, and looks set to use that knowledge and experience to help him throughout the upcoming campaign.

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The Spaniard knows he must play to strengths, and apply early pressure every weekend on Bagnaia by trying to dominate qualifying and the Sprint. Plus, the costly errors in the final stages of 2023 will need to be ironed out if he’s to topple to unflappable Champion.

RETURN OF THE MARC

It’s the one thing everyone can’t stop talking about: what can Marc Marquez achieve on the Gresini Ducati? Will the eight-time World Champion instantly return to his dominant best and cruise to glory like we saw in the late 2010s, or will this new crop of hungry and talented riders require Marquez to find another level?

From pre-season it was easy to see that the #93 hasn’t lost any of his magic, but, at the same time, success won’t come easy this year. As he continues to unlearn habits from the last decade of his life with Honda, Marquez is slowly but surely closing the gap to the front. But whilst his one-year-old Ducati will be at the peak of its powers at the start of the year, before the full factory machines develop and improve throughout the year, the Spaniard will have to start fast and put early pressure on the younger challengers.

A CHAMPION IN WAITING

Red Bull GASGAS Tech3’s Pedro Acosta has taken the premier class paddock by storm throughout pre-season testing. The 19-year-old was electric in Sepang and then only a second adrift of Bagnaia’s blistering pace in Qatar. Fighting for the Championship is for sure a step too far for the two-time World Champion in his rookie year, but he’ll be confident of causing more than a few shocks.

The Spaniard will no doubt have the German Grand Prix circled in his diary, with Round 10 of the season being his last opportunity to break Marc Marquez’s 11-year-old record and become the youngest rider in premier class history to win a Grand Prix. Can The Shark do it? Start the Jaws music.

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New challenges await. A new era awaits. A new season of MotoGP™ awaits.