until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Nine more 2025 MotoGP rider deals to watch for

by Matt Beer, Simon Patterson
8 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

While MotoGP technically had an unexpected month off between the Catalan and Dutch Grands Prix due to the postponement of the first Kazakhstan race, that on-track pause became frenetic for the rider market.

Marc Marquez from Gresini to the works Ducati team, Jorge Martin rage-quitting off to Aprilia in response, KTM grabbing Maverick Vinales and Enea Bastianini for Tech3, Aprilia filling the Vinales gap with Marco Bezzecchi from VR46 and seemingly Pramac concluding there was no reason for it not to ditch Ducati for Yamaha - it’s all happened in the last few weeks.

It still leaves an awful lot to be settled. But details of who’s heading where - and who’s decided to stay put after all - in the rest of the grid became a lot clearer through Thursday at Assen.

Here’s what seems likely to happen for nine more riders out of contract:

Mir really does want to stay at Honda

Despite the stats of 2020 world champion Joan Mir’s Honda stint so far featuring almost as many crashes (31) as points (39), the litany of morose post-race debriefs that made him seem at times like he might even retire from MotoGP in his mid-20s and the fact Mir has enough admirers from his title-winning season at Suzuki now scattered around other teams with more competitive bikes and 2025 vacancies, it seems Mir really, really does want to stay at Honda for another two years.

He denied reports that a new deal was done, but called getting one his “priority”.

Part of that is based on what seems to be genuine faith in Honda’s developments and a certainty that “what’s coming is going to be better” - or at least things can’t get any worse.

But he’s also adamant that if he leaves Honda now he’d be leaving as a failure, and he can’t stand that thought.

“I’ve been unlucky to be part of probably the worst moments of Honda in history,” said Mir.

“Also I still have the feeling that if I leave I will be failing at this project because when another rider in the past left this project [Marc Marquez] he had some good results from the past and that is not my case - I do not have good results with this team and I will have a different feeling if I leave.”

Mir’s old Suzuki team-mate Alex Rins is in a similar position, though perhaps with a little more reason to believe in his team given Yamaha’s slight hints of progress lately.

Though he’s not got a 2025 contract yet, talks over one are very much in progress and Rins doesn’t want to leave.

“It’s unbelievable the effort that all of Yamaha is doing,” Rins said of development work.

The other question mark at Honda is - as ever - Taka Nakagami and whether he’ll finally be swapped out for Moto2 frontrunner Ai Ogura at LCR.

Regardless of what Honda wants to do with him, Nakagami hinted that he needs to see stronger signs that the bike’s improving to convince him to stick around in MotoGP.

“Honestly speaking, if I have the opportunity I want to stay with this team of course,” he said.

“But it depends on the bike, because I’m not 20 years old. I’m 32. Of course I have to start thinking about my future.”


One rider unhappy with the rider market moves so far - and vocal in a belief that factors beyond on-track results are compromising him - is current Trackhouse Aprilia racer Miguel Oliveira, who has doubled down on claims that it’s Bezzecchi's nationality and not his 2023 title tilt that got him the factory Aprilia ride.

Oliveira's passionate Portuguese fanbase has repeatedly pointed to comments made by Aprilia boss Massimo Rivola suggesting that it would be nice for the team to have an Italian among its ranks - and Oliveira also believes this is why he was overlooked for the seat alongside Martin.

"It became quite clear that not for sporting reasons, maybe for other reasons, they needed an Italian rider,” Oliveira said.

“Massimo mentioned that right after Aleix [Espargaro] announced his retirement. And that's it. It's business. It is what it is.

"I'll do my best to consider the whole project and to continue putting in my maximum effort this season despite their decision because it's my role. Let's see what happens. Still everything is open for me. I probably have two options that I like.”

While Rivola did show a preference for a rider from Aprilia's home country, the belief that it was a necessity is somewhat countered by the attempts to keep Vinales as Martin's partner in what would’ve been an all-Spanish squad.

Regardless of why Oliveira didn't get the factory spot, Rivola did suggest he’d prefer him to stay around at Trackhouse to provide continuity given the factory has an all-new line-up. That decision is more in the hands of Trackhouse team boss Davide Brivio.

"[Rivola] told me it would be a shame to lose me, that for very different factors we didn't come to an agreement earlier because of the results last year, the injuries, the beginning of this season being so hard with the new bike,” said Oliveira.

"And having the opportunity to hire the championship leader, there is no one who can battle with that. But he would be very sad to lose me. But it's not in Aprilia's hands anymore.”

Of course continuity could be provided by Trackhouse keeping Oliveira’s team-mate Raul Fernandez, who Rivola admitted this week he was a “super-fan” of.

“I like the words of Massimo. I have massive respect for him,” said Fernandez, but beyond that he didn’t venture into 2025 contract territory - saying his focus had all been on recovering from another round of arm pump surgery and he was leaving off-track matters to his management.


While much of the focus lately has been on who’s leaving Ducati’s satellite line-ups, at least two riders are close to extending their deals and staying where they are next season: Gresini's Alex Marquez and VR46’s Fabio Di Giannantonio.

"My feeling and what I want and my hope is to continue in Gresini," said Marquez amid rumours he's already put pen to paper with the satellite squad.

"Today I still don't have any signed contract but my expectation is that it is to follow. Also that's what the team communicated to me. I think it will not be any problem to continue together."

Di Giannantonio didn't quite come out as strongly as Marquez in admitting that his goal is to remain with his current team - but strongly hinted that his future is sticking with Valentino Rossi's squad.

"We started quite early," he said of his negotiations when asked by The Race. "It's already been more than a month that we were working on the future. Really soon we will know what the future is for us.

"Not this weekend. Well, this weekend it could be really close. Maybe in two weeks. From my side I would love to do it tomorrow, but many things that I want have to happen. I hope it's as soon as possible.

"The work that we are doing is just trying to find a project where I can be in the fight for the win already from the first race of next year. VR46 for sure is an option for this, so we are working on that. And in the next few weeks we will know."

That reference to fighting for wins instantly raises questions over which of Ducati’s remaining satellite teams will get the 2025-spec Desmosedicis that would’ve gone to Yamaha-bound Pramac. Will it be one each for VR46 and Gresini, or does one of the pair get them both?

That will probably be relevant to current Pramac rider Franco Morbidelli, who’s expected to join his mentor Rossi’s squad as Di Giannantonio’s team-mate, though today at Assen Morbidelli insisted he wasn’t thinking about 2025 until he’d got properly back up front on track.

“If I’m in the podium positions and I’m on the top spot I will have more time and energy to focus about the market and all this stuff,” he said. “Right now, I don’t.”


Jack Miller may have been caught off-guard by KTM completely jettisoning him for 2025 having indicated to him it would still keep him somewhere in its fold, but that doesn’t mean he’s done with MotoGP.

He ruled out looking for top World Superbike seats, saying “I feel like with the options we have on the table at the moment there’s a good spot for me in MotoGP already”.

One spot might be at Gresini, and Miller sounded pretty confident about what he could do back on a Ducati.

“Obviously going to a Ducati is very, very interesting because I know the bike very well, I know the structure very well, I have no doubts that I could get back on that bike and be inside the top five almost instantly,” he said.

But he also expressed his interest in “working on a project and looking for a long-term home to finish out my last strong years in MotoGP and working towards a common goal”.

That sounds like his old employer Pramac in its new relationship with Yamaha.

Honda is also certainly a project and there had been rumours he'd be of interest there, though if Mir and Luca Marini are staying put that's probably a non-starter.

Ultimately Gresini may be too for Miller, given Alex Marquez is staying and Ducati needs to find somewhere for its early signing Fermin Aldeguer, with VR46 less likely for him if it's keeping Di Giannantonio and bringing in Morbidelli.


Ducati: Pecco Bagnaia, Marc Marquez
Gresini Ducati: Alex Marquez, TBA (Fermin Aldeguer? Jack Miller?)
VR46 Ducati: Fabio di Giannantonio, TBA (Franco Morbidelli? Fermin Aldeguer?)
KTM: Pedro Acosta, Brad Binder
Tech3 KTM: Enea Bastianini, Maverick Vinales
Aprilia: Jorge Martin, Marco Bezzecchi
Trackhouse Aprilia: Raul Fernandez?, TBA (Miguel Oliveira?)
Yamaha: Fabio Quartararo, Alex Rins
Pramac Yamaha: TBA, TBA
Honda: Joan Mir. Luca Marini
LCR Honda: Johann Zarco, Taka Nakagami? (Ai Ogura?)

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