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It’s not (just) about winning… | BSN’s Alternative Awards of 2023

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We are in the final hours of the year that is 2023, so it’s only reasonable that we take a few moments to cast our minds back over the last 12 months before we get resolute with our objectives for 2024… 

We’re not big on resolutions here at BSN - though you should have more fun in your life, go on, you deserve it - but if we were competing in MotoGP, WorldSBK or BSB et al. then one goal we’d be eyeing for 2024 would be inclusion in BSN’s Alternative Awards for 2023… well, at least, the flattering ones anyway!

The rider that deserves an award just because… - GLENN IRWIN 

It must be said, we were in awe at how calm Glenn Irwin was able to remain in the direct aftermath of being pipped to the 2023 BSB title by just half-a-point.


After all, it’s one thing to miss out on a first title by such a tiny margin, but losing out to your team-mate makes that bitterness taste all the sharper. Basically, we’d probably  be smashing things up, so here’s to you Glenn for keeping it cool when no doubt every fibre in your body was bursting to do the opposite!

Tarran Mackenzie, Petronas MIE Racing, Honda CBR600RR, 2023 WorldSSP, Most, portrait, celebration [credit - Gold & Goose]

The mad 10000/1 surprise result of the year - TARRAN MACKENZIE’s WorldSSP win at Most 

You know what, we’re still struggling to believe this happened - no discredit to Taz, but definitely some discredit to that Honda of his! Then again, if the weather is a bit iffy, then trust the Brits to shine bright through the gloom. Top job!

The edge of the seat race battle of the year - TOPRAK RAZGATLIOGLU and ALVARO BAUTISTA’s tussle in Jerez 

We thought Portimao was motorcycle racing at its peak, but we reckon Toprak Razgatlioglu and Alvaro Bautista’s impeccable and breathless tete-a-tete in the very final race of the season at Jerez is the race we’d watch over and over again if we had to.

We’ll ignore the post-race adjustment to the results and just appreciate racing at its very best, thank you please.

The ‘no-one saw that coming’ moment of the year - JONAS FOLGER’s unexpected MotoGP comeback

While we can’t imagine the horror of having one’s jaw wired shut (you just know you’d find something in your teeth just as the brace clamps shut…), Pol Espargaro’s extended leave of absence did throw up one surprising outcome in the return of Jonas Folger to the MotoGP grid.

Some seven years after his burgeoning MotoGP career was cut short after developing Epstein Barr syndrome, it was a pleasant surprise to see KTM give the German a chance to complete some unfinished business with a four-round stint.


Pecco Bagnaia, Maverick Vinales - Ducati Corse, Aprilia Racing - 2023 French MotoGP - Le Mans - altercation, fight

Fisticuffs of the Year - PECCO BAGNAIA and MAVERICK VINALES getting frisky in the gravel at Le Mans

It’s not becoming of a World Champion to be getting bolshie in the gravel trap with a rival… though it is fairly entertaining. No harm, no foul… just a bit embarrassing.

(Unlikely) Villain of the Year - LUCA MARINI

Yep, he may look sweet and innocent but don’t forget, Luca Marini is a ‘Rossi’ too and you don’t want to upset big bro Vale… We’re just kidding, but Marini was rather naughty in 2023, being responsible for ruining Enea Bastianini’s entire campaign about two-and-a-half minutes into the season at Portimao, before committing racing’s greatest faux pas - smashing into your team-mate - in India… tut tut


Gritty Comeback of the Year - PETER HICKMAN reasserting his authority on the Isle of Man TT 

It’s probably not easy to shoulder the weight of high expectations coming into an event like the Isle of Man TT, but Peter Hickman is a master at taking such concentrated attention in his stride it would seem.

That was until he came up against big competition from a revitalised Michael Dunlop, the Ulsterman’s speed certainly unsettling Hickman during the first week of the TT. Nevertheless, Hickman deserves credit for collecting himself, refocusing and coming out fighting in week two, culminating in his extraordinary lap record smashing Senior TT victory on the final day.

Aprilia Racing, Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia RS-GP, 2023 MotoGP, Catalunya MotoGP, podium, celebration, Barcelona [credit - Gold & Goose]

Naaawwwww Cutest Moment of the Year - ALEIX ESPARGARO and his kids on the podium in Barcelona 

The Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona is about one mile from where Aleix Espargaro grew up, so it’s little wonder his young children were on hand to help him celebrate on the podium when he claimed a poignant hometown win this year. Altogether now, awwwwww!

Race performance that deserves more credit - IVAN ORTOLA for going from last to first at COTA

There were plenty of standout race-winning performances in 2023, but for us it was Ivan Ortola’s gritty fight-back from the back of the field to win the Grand Prix of The Americas Moto3 race that really stood out.

The Spaniard looked to be out of contention when he came close to launching himself off his Angeluss-MTA KTM at Turn 2 on lap one, but despite dropping to the back, he scythed his way back through the field to get back into the front group.

Once there, he took a breather, raced with the flow and then - as the intensity ramped up in the final laps - kept his nose clean as others got dusted up to shake out on top and secure his first career GP win.

Ai Ogura, Somkiat Chantra, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia, 2023 Moto2, Japanese Moto2, Motegi, portrait, podium, celebration [Gold & Goose]

The ‘can’t say fairer than that’ 100% performance - SOMKIAT CHANTRA’s flawless Japanese Moto2 weekend 

Somkiat Chantra topped each practice session, then placed himself on pole during qualifying before getting the hole-shot, stretching clear for a dominant second career Grand Prix win. Oh, and he led a 1-2 for his IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia team as well, so all-in-all, a good day at the office.

The totes emosh moment of the year - BO BENDSNEYDER Moto2 podium after grandfather’s death

A mainstay of the Grand Prix paddock, not only was Bo Bendsneyder’s run to third in the Grand Prix of The Americas a long awaited first podium for the Dutchman, it was achieved by clambering up from seventh to third on the final lap.

To then learn in the post-race interview that his grandfather had died only the night before served to make this one a bit ‘squish squish’ on the emotional scale…

Awkward moment of the Year - TOMMY BRIDEWELL and GLENN IRWIN coming together at Donington Park

Despite their best efforts in front of the cameras, it was clear Tommy Bridewell and Glenn Irwin’s relationship at Paul Bird Motorsport was ‘professional’ at best.

That was until Bridewell got it all wrong at the Melbourne Hairpin during the penultimate round of the season at Donington Park and T-boned Irwin, taking both out. Coming at the peak of their intense battle for the 2023 BSB title, we can only imagine the fireworks in the PBM pit box during the immediate aftermath.

Most frustrated person of the year - KENAN SOFUOGLU

Arguably the most hands-on rider coach and manager in motorcycle racing, Kenan Sofuoglu was kept very busy this year with Toprak Razgatlioglu in WorldSBK, Bahattin Sofuoglu and Can Oncu in WorldSSP and Deniz Oncu in Moto3.

It was a frustrating year for the Turkish contingent on the whole though with Razgatlioglu still coming up short despite his best efforts against an almighty Alvaro Bautista-Ducati foe, while Deniz Oncu’s Moto3 title hopes were hampered by him being just every so slightly bigger and heavier than his rivals when it came to Moto3’s regular finish line sprints.

His most face-palming moment likely came at the WorldSSP season opener though when Can Oncu managed to crash on the way to the grid for a race he was due to start from pole position. To make matters worse, Bahattin Sofuoglu (Kenan’s cousin) rather carelessly proceeded to smash into the errant Kawasaki too, taking both out of the race…

Quote of the Year - TOMMY BRIDEWELL

“I love to get home and see my dogs and my sheep. Before I left I was about to get in my motorhome and my four sheep were stood at the fence looking at me, I said ‘see you later, girlies’ and one just went ‘baaaaaaaa’ - I loved it!”

You’ve just got to love Tommy Bridewell, haven’t you?

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