The Style of Speed: 2023 MotoGP race bike liveries, ranked

2023 MotoGP race bike liveries ranked
Although we usually fawn over custom motorcycles here at Bike EXIF, you can also find us glued to our screens during the MotoGP season. We love racing, and, by extension, racing motorcycles. The engineering on a proper MotoGP race bike is mind-boggling, and often trickles down to more high-end custom builds.

But the motorcycle itself is only part of the package. Once the engineers have built it, the team’s designers have the arduous task of mashing together the team’s corporate identity with a whole lot of sponsor branding, to create a livery that’s distinguishable at 200 mph.


It’s those liveries that are remembered years on, sometimes going on to become iconic. Who can forget Valentino Rossi’s yellow Camel-sponsored Yamaha, or Suzuki’s Lucky Strike era?

We’re roughly halfway through this year’s season, so we thought we’d hit pause and take stock of this year’s MotoGP race bike liveries. We’ve ranked them according to who we thought hit (or missed) the mark, and noted designs that we think will go on to be remembered.

GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3
10. GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 Remember Tech3’s blue, silver and orange KTM from 2020? Or the blue GO!!!!!!! Yamaha from the early 2000s? How about last year’s Tech3 bike; mostly orange with a bold KTM logo splashed on the side?

This year’s Tech3 contender is nowhere as cool as any of those.

GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3
Rebranded as GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3, the pairing of Pol Espargaro and Augusto Fernandez are basically running KTM RC16s under the GASGAS banner (if you didn’t know by now, KTM owns GASGAS). So they’ve taken the same approach as last year, and kept the livery dead simple—the brand’s signature color, accompanied by their logo.

It’s not that dissimilar to the bikes that GASGAS fields in other disciplines, like motocross, enduro and rally racing. Except that the brand’s primary color is red… just like another marque who has much more experience in MotoGP. If there’s one livery that needs a serious injection of imagination before 2024, it’s this one.

CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP race bike
9. CryptoDATA RNF The new CryptoDATA RNF livery would have landed at the bottom of the list, if not for the fact that, unlike GASGAS, they actually added some graphics to their bike. Using what the team punts as a “bold combination” of green, black, blue, red and rose gold, the team’s Aprilia RS-GP looks like each part of it was conceived by a different designer, without each one knowing what the other was doing.

Parts of it look great. But throw it all onto one canvas, and it’s a mishmash that’s seriously lacking in cohesion.

CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP race bike
We’d wager that this one’s not the fault of the team’s designers though. RNF has reinvented itself for 2023, swapping from Yamaha to Aprilia for their bikes, and from WithU to CryptoDATA as their title sponsor. Chances are, the graphic designers behind this were handed an impossibly long list of colors and motifs that had to be included.

The mass of blue used up front looks great, as does the olive green tail section. But the line that divides them (they call it rose gold but it’s closer to a faded coral pink) doesn’t do the bike any favors And spare a thought for the Italian dairy company, Sterilgarda; they must have been the last sponsor to sign on, because their logo looks like it had to be tacked on at the last minute.

Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP race bike
8. Yamaha Factory Racing If you don’t know Aldo Drudi’s name, you’ve definitely seen his work. He’s been responsible for countless helmet designs and race bike liveries, and he’s designed all of Valentino Rossi’s helmets. Drudi penned this year’s Yamaha MotoGP design too—but despite his pedigree, we’re not feeling it.

Last year’s Yamaha bike was slick and menacing; a striking blue and black design punctuated by Monster Energy logos that somehow managed to not look garish (as Monster Energy logos normally do). This year’s bike keeps that color scheme, but mixes in some grey to splash the YZR-M1 in an urban camo-inspired design.

Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP race bike
Yes—urban camo. Welcome back to the mid-90s. Vanilla Ice would approve, no doubt.

The YZR-M1’s ‘funky’ design is likely a bid to appeal to a younger audience. But, like a balding, middle-aged man in skinny jeans and Converse sneakers, it’s trying too hard.

Francesco Bagnaia with Ducati MotoGP
7. Ducati Lenovo The biggest news out of the factory Ducati camp at the start of the season, was that Pecco Bagnaia had opted to run the #1 plate on the front of his bike this year. It’s a bold move from the defending champion; the last time someone won back-to-back championships with the #1 plate was when Mick Doohan did it in 1998. But it’s paid off so far.

Ducati Lenovo MotoGP race bikes
The second biggest news, was that Monster Energy had come on board as a sponsor. As for the rest, most of the Desmosedici GP’s design remained unchanged for 2023, save for a few subtle tweaks.

Which is fine… I guess. Ducati has been racing in MotoGP for 20 years now, and pretty much has the monopoly on red bikes. Sure, it’s not as stylish as the tricolor design that Rossi and Hayden piloted in 2012, or as cool as that time that Fila sponsored the team—but it’s not the worst-looking bike on the grid.

Mooney VR46 Racing MotoGP race bike
6. Mooney VR46 Racing Valentino Rossi’s team is another that hasn’t changed its livery much (or at all) for 2023. But that’s a good thing.

Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi’s satellite Ducati race bikes wear a black base coat, with bold stripes running down the sides. One is in Rossi’s signature yellow, and the other an orange hue to represent the team’s title sponsor, Mooney.

Mooney VR46 Racing MotoGP race bike
It’s a striking color combination, but what really makes it great, is how well the graphics complement the silhouette of the bike. Despite the fact that there will be no less than eight Ducatis on track this year, the VR46 team won’t have any trouble being spotted.

Of course, we wouldn’t be opposed to an audacious all-yellow livery, either.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MotoGP bikes
5. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Did the KTM factory team even update their livery for 2023? We can’t tell. Is there anything going on here other than a massive Red Bull logo? Unsure. Does the RC16 look wildly cool and lightning fast? Yup.

Remember when tobacco brands were allowed to sponsor race teams? That era produced some of the most iconic liveries ever seen. Ducati and Marlboro, Honda and Rothmans; you’re picturing them as we list them, right?

Brad Binder with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MotoGP
Here’s the deal: energy drink companies are the new tobacco sponsors. In fact, Red Bull isn’t even an energy drink company any more—they’re an enormous sports media company that also happens to produce an energy drink.

Just like Red Bull Racing’s F1 cars, the Red Bull KTM factory bikes are already iconic. 20 years from now, we’ll be remembering Brad Binder and Jack Miller’s glory days together—and commenting on how rad the KTMs of the 2020s looked.

Aprilia Racing MotoGP race bike
4. Aprilia Racing The 2023 season will be notable for Aprilia for two reasons. For starters, they’ll have an extra two bikes on the grid, running in the RNF Aprilia team. Secondly, they’ve lost their concessions, courtesy of Aleix Espargaró’s standout 2022 season.

One thing that hasn’t changed, is Aprilia’s race livery. The factory team’s RS-GP race bikes wear the same black, red and purple colors that they did last year, with little to no changes. And we’re totally fine with that.

Aprilia Racing MotoGP race bike
Sans-paint, the RS-GP is the best-looking bike on the grid. And the combination of a black base coat with kinetic red and purple stripes only improves it. Standing still or in motion, the Aprilia A-team’s RS-GP is simply one of the best-looking bikes on the grid—even if its riders are struggling to put it on the podium right now.

Our only gripe? It needs more purple. Much more purple.

Gresini Racing Ducati MotoGP race bike
3. Gresini Racing Gresini’s 2022 bike smashed together the team’s Pantone 2122 blue with Ducati’s signature red. But it felt a little slap dash.

The team’s designers have cleaned up the Gresini bike’s graphics for 2023, and it looks sharp as heck. There’s a clearer division between the powder blue and red, with red stripes cutting their way across the middle of the bike. A lick of white on the grips and inside the fairing wings add a neat touch.

Gresini Racing Ducati MotoGP race bike
The sponsor logos don’t vie for attention—and, best of all, the design on Alex Marquez and Fabio Di Giannantonio’s leathers integrates perfectly when they’re in attack position.

So far, they haven’t been able to squeeze as much performance out of the Desmosedici GP as what Enea Bastianini did last year. But there’s no doubt that this is one of the best looking machines on the track.

Repsol Honda MotoGP race bike
2. Repsol Honda It’s turning out to be a difficult year for Repsol Honda. They’re the only team with two MotoGP champions on their team, but Marc Marquez and Joan Mir have spent more time in the gravel than at the top of the timesheets so far this season.

One thing that hasn’t changed, is Honda’s relationship with Repsol. They’ve been in this together for almost three decades now—so it’s no shocker that their livery has stayed the same for 2023.

Repsol Honda MotoGP race bike
The Honda RC213V once again wears its signature white, orange and yellow Repsol graphics. Although this year, they seem to have tweaked them to be ever so slightly brighter, making the bike pop even more than before. (Bonus points for orange wheels, too.)

There’s no denying it—Honda and Repsol are an iconic pairing. And that makes the RC213V the closest thing to a modern classic currently in the MotoGP paddock.

Prima Pramac Racing Ducati MotoGP bike
1. Prima Pramac Racing Pramac kicked off their 2022 season with a frenetic white, blue and red livery. Then the Italian insurance company Prima signed on as a title sponsor, and Pramac changed their design mid-season. Blue was swapped out for purple (Prima’s corporate color), and the team’s Desmosedici GP went from distinctive to completely unmissable.

There’s a big difference between shoehorning a new color into an existing design, and creating a livery from scratch with an established palette. Which is exactly why the Prima Pramac Racing design has come into its own for 2023.

Prima Pramac Racing Ducati MotoGP bike
The red hue seems like an obvious nod to Ducati—but it’s actually Pramac’s corporate color, and substantially brighter than Ducati’s red. It’s splashed onto a striking white base and interspersed with the purple bits, with the whole design tapering to the rear

The new look is somehow more tidy and more chaotic than before. And as it stands, it’s the best looking bike on the grid—and one of the fastest.

2023 MotoGP race bike liveries ranked
Image sources: MotoGP.com, Ducati Press, KTM Press

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