Francesco Bagnaia aims to end 25-year MotoGP curse with No. 1 plate

Bagnaia MotoGP 1 plate

Francesco Bagnaia will sport the No. 1 plate in MotoGP, making him the first rider in a more than decade and the ninth driver in the past 30 years to take advantage of the honor. By doing so, he hopes to break a 25-year-old curse that stretches back to 1998.

That year, Mick Doohan was the last rider to win back-to-back championships with the No. 1 plate on his bike – his fifth consecutive title.

Bagnaia’s come from behind victory in 2022 was one of the most dramatic championships in in the history of the sport, and he has decided to roll the dice one more time.

Beginning with a victory in the Dutch GP, Bagnaia scored eight podium finishes in the next nine rounds to close the gap on Fabio Quartaro. In the final few rounds, the defending 2021 champion suffered through several bad races, leaving Bagnaia all but mathematically certain of his first championship entering the final round.

Since 1998, Alex Criville (defending in 2000), Kenny Roberts, Jr. (2001), Nicky Haden (2007), Casey Stoner (2008 and 2012) and Jorge Lorenzo (2016) have tried and failed to defend their title with the No. 1 plate.

After Criville and Roberts failed to defend their titles, Valentino Rossi chose to use his assigned number instead of the honorific and won five straight championships from 2001-2005. Hayden and Stoner then ignored the curse and failed to repeat the next two titles before Rossi rattled off another pain in 2008 and 2009.

In the past decade, Marc Marquez won back-to-back titles in 2013/2014 and four consecutively from 2016 through 2019, each with his assigned number.

No one else has wanted to thumb their nose at fate. Bagnaia doesn’t care.

“My winter break was shorter than usual because of all the commitments after winning the World Championship, but now I am charged up and eager to start the season,” Bagnaia said at “I have missed the Desmosedici GP and my team, and I can’t wait to get back on track.

“I could not decide whether to continue using the No. 63 or switch to the No. 1, and in the end, I decided on the latter. Seeing it on the bike is beautiful, and now my goal will be to do everything to keep it. It won’t be easy because I expect even tougher competition than last year, with many rivals ready to fight for the title: however, I am aware that I have the best bike and team to aim high again in 2023.”

Beta Motorcycles joins SuperMotocross in 2024, Benny Bloss named first factory rider

Beta Motorcycles 2024 Bloss
Beta Motorcycles

Benny Bloss will race for the factory Beta Motorcycles team in 2024 as that manufacturer joins SuperMotocross as the ninth brand to compete in the series. Beta Motorcycles will make their debut in the Monster Energy Supercross opener at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California in January.

Benny Bloss finished among the top 10 twice in Pro Motocross, in 2016 and 2018. – Beta Motorcycles

“The wait is over and we can finally share everything we have been working towards,” said Carlen Gardner, Race Team Manager in a press release. “It has been a great experience being a part of this development and seeing the progression. The only missing part was finding a rider that would mesh well with our Beta Family.

“After a one phone call with Benny, we knew it would be a good fit for him, and for us. We are happy to have him on board for the next two years and can’t wait to see everyone at Anaheim in January.”

Bloss debuted in the 450 class in 2015 with a 15th-place finish overall at Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Bloss has a pair of top-10 rankings in the division with a sixth-place finish in the Pro Motocross Championship in 2016 and a seventh in 2018. His best Supercross season ended 15th in the standings in 2018.

“I’m extremely excited to join the Beta Factory Racing team,” Bloss said. “It’s cool to see a brand with such a rich history in off-road racing to come into the US Supercross and Motocross space. I know this team will be capable of great things as we build and go racing in 2024.”

Bloss is currently 22nd in the SuperMotocross rankings and has not raced in the first two rounds of the Motocross season.

Testing for Beta Motorcycles is scheduled to begin in August and the team expects to announce a second rider at that time.

The family-owned brand adds to the international flare of the sport. The company was founded in Florence, Italy in 1905 as Società Giuseppe Bianchi as they built handmade bicycles, The transition to motorcycle production in the late 1940s.

Beta Motorcycles competed and won in motocross competition in the late 1970s and early 1980s with Jim Pomeroy and other riders.

Beta will join Triumph Motorcycles as a second historic brand to join the sport in 2024. First established in 1902, Triumph has won in nearly every division they have competed in, dating back to their first victory in the 1908 Isle of Man TT. Triumph will debut in the 250 class in 2024 and plans to expand into 450s in 2025.