The 2023 MotoGP Japanese round at Motegi is officially over, and it was full of rain, red flags, and the kind of racing drama that only a rainy weather upset can provide. The race was red flagged after 13 laps and was unable to be restarted—so the podium consisted of Jorge Martin on the top step, Francesco Bagnaia in second, and noted rain ace Marc Marquez scoring what was, no doubt, a much-appreciated third place finish.
That was on proper factory MotoGP machines, though. What happens when you take some of the best riders in the world and stick them on minibikes? While it’s a thing we don’t get to see as often as we’d like, the Japanese GP at Motegi gave fans everywhere the gift of watching several current MotoGP riders take each other on via a minibike challenge in 2023.
It’s certainly true that MotoGP riders are incredibly fit, but even they had to take a little time to get some stretches in before neatly pretzeling themselves up to fit their frames onto those tiny bikes.
In case you were wondering about it, they didn’t use the full-sized track for this Minibike GP. Instead, they stuck to a kart track that was much better suited to the scale of the bikes. If you’re a fan of seeing some of your faves drawn or sculpted as superdeformed (SD) caricatures, the sight of full-size adult riders on pocket-sized minibikes is probably as close as you can get to life-sized bobbleheads.
Unlike in the premier class, the Minibike GP basically had no rules. So, you had some chicane-cutting, grass-riding, crazy swerving, and foot-paddling action at various points in the race—and that’s just what the official MotoGP editor allowed into the clips for this video.
In the end, though, it was probably a nice treat for Johann Zarco’s fans to see him up on the top step of the podium. He’s currently running sixth in the overall 2023 MotoGP world championship rider standings after Motegi, and unfortunately crashed out of the main MotoGP event of the weekend on lap 12.