Shortly before Marc Marquez publicly admitted that Luca Marini would be joining Repsol Honda, we had met Stefan Bradl in the paddock. As a former Moto2 champion and HRC test rider, Stefan was still convinced that Fabio Di Giannantonio would be the one joining Honda.
Joan Mir, who fell after just five laps in the Malaysian GP, was also surprised by Puig’s choice, and was halfway between amused and curious.
“I know him, and I like him,” the former world champion said when he was a guest at Valentino Rossi’s Ranch for his 100 km of Champions. “Luca is an intelligent rider with experience. He isn’t a reckless guy who always rides to the limit and risks everything in braking.”
Mir didn’t talk about Honda’s current competitiveness but rather its size.
“I’m curious to see how Luca will have to bend to get into the RC213-V’s fairing,” he said jokingly. “We’ll only be able to see his knees and elbows:”
Marini is a slim but he’s also 1.84 cm. That’s tall for a bike designed for Marquez, who’s 1.70 cm or even Mir who’s not even 1.75 cm.
He’s nothing like Dani Pedrosa, for whom Honda had to construct a tailor-made bike, and Zarco and Nakagami aren’t giants either.
“I don’t think it’ll be a problem,” Mir continued. “I see and hear about changes in Honda that you can’t immediately understand from the outside. With such a large company, everything takes longer, but something is already happening.”