The icy eyes, the round smile. Take a good look at Luca Marini and you can understand what the result of hard work is. It’s the realization of something, of a dream. He has worked hard to be here, here in MotoGP. Which is something huge for someone they said was just the brother of a legend, Valentino Rossi. Luca is much more than that, and this is his moment. This is the turning point. “Of course - he says of Team Sky VR46 Avintia - it is a very important year, which I will never forget. Not just for my career, but also for my life. I'm in MotoGP, the maximum expression of this sport. I have to try to work at my best, and I hope to stay there for many years because that's what I really love to do. I can't wait to try the bike, after trying it the desire will be even more ".
It's the result of what sacrifices?
“I started a journey by entering the world championship, during my career I think I did the right apprenticeship, not the easiest steps, in my opinion, to get to MotoGP as soon as possible. I would have liked to have arrived earlier by entering from Moto3, a category that teaches you so much, about the things that you will never find again. Actually, you find them but they are more difficult to learn. I went into Moto2, it wasn't easy, it took a couple of years to adapt to the category, to the new reality that is the world championship. In Moto2 the level was very high, it wasn't easy to get results right away. Every year I have always tried to do something more, I have felt stronger and stronger, with confidence in myself, every year I have tried to take a small step. Now I am going much faster than when I started. And I think I have made the right steps, the right sacrifices, and when you take home a second place in the world championship you feel ready for this leap ”.
Do you have any regrets about this recent past?
“One cannot not have any. I felt I was the strongest, capable of winning the world title. I'm sorry I wasn't able to take it home, that would have been very important. But world championship runner-up does not take away the importance of the past season, of everything I have shown, I felt strong, fast, I really enjoyed it. It is now a closed chapter. The sport in general is very tied to the present. You might have achieved the results you want, but if you don’t continue the future is increasingly difficult ”.
You are the main architect, but is there an important person who has helped you over the years?
"Not everyone thinks so, but a lot is the result of my work, of my growth, of results. For sure behind there is my family, my father, my mother and my brother, and of course my girlfriend who has become part of my family. And then the journey with the VR46 Academy, with the others we did something important, pushing ourselves beyond our limits. And then all the people who truly believed in me, who improved me as a person ".
What is the biggest improvement you have made over the years?
“I have improved in everything, 360 degrees. In my riding, my approach to qualifying, the race, working method: every year I do something that helps me improve overall. I worked on everything, I tried to improve myself. I have cultivated my talent to get the best performance I can ”.
What will be the biggest obstacle in MotoGP?
"There isn't just one. A leap in category is always a big change, there are a lot of new things to learn. The tyres, the electronics. And certainly also the power of the bike in general. These will be the first things I will work on. I am motivated, I know there will be difficult moments, but I want to try to face them in the best possible way. I also wish there were some nice moments ”.
Does your physical training change?
“The basic physical preparation is the same, it remains similar, in recent years it has always worked well. I don't feel the need to change it but I'll adapt it to MotoGP, the Ducati requires a lot of physical effort, I'll have to increase my strength. I'm ready to do that, I'm ready for anything to go fast”.
What about the riding position?
"That also. Already with the Ducati technicians we are talking about the ergonomics of the bike to make it made-to-measure for me. Ducati has always had riders of different stature. I’m thinking about Dovi and Petrucci. Everyone has to ‘sew on’ the bike best suited for his needs. I'll start from the basic position. Then we will have to work on weight balance, on how to take advantage of my height and weight during a race. They've already talked to me about it, I'm curious to work on this too: adapting my riding style to what the bike requires and adapting the bike to what I need to feel performing on a Ducati ”.
They've been asking you all your life what advice your brother Valentino has given you. Now we’ve arrived. Did he tell you anything? Also anything practical.
"Practical advice will be more useful than ever this year. Not having raced in Moto2, at first a person with more experience than you can tell you a lot of things, especially with regards to the tracks or how qualifying work, the race, about how to work. But if you don't try the tyres, the new things in the category, it’s no use. In the end, the experience I had accumulated was very good. While everything is new this year, I am in the category where Vale has raced for many years, and has experienced its development. I will ask him a lot of things, as well as others. But it is I who must go to the track and try to ride as best I can. It's not that the more advice I get, the better I go. From a technical point of view, however, we are talking about the tyres and how the track changes during a race weekend. The race is always the worst moment on the track ”.
But does it have a certain effect on you to race against Vale?
“Yes, of course, it is impossible that it does not affect me or that I don’t think about it. We will both be busy with the work we have to do, everything else takes a back seat. And if I have a chance to fight, I'll try to beat him, as he will try to beat me ”.
Vale is now 42 years of age . What do you wish him? And yourself?
“I hope that we are both happy. It is the most important thing in life, doing what we love. A person can only be okay if he is happy ”.