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MotoGP, Marini: "The Honda is nice to ride, but it’s not yet fast enough"

"I like being an official rider, the engineers listen to me and we are on the right path. Our rivals are making huge steps forward, we will have to progress quickly"

MotoGP: Marini:

At the end of the Sepang Shakedown, Luca Marini enters the press room with a smile on his face and a polo shirt with the Honda lettering printed on the chest. He seems to have enjoyed his first test as an official rider and seems to have the right energy to throw himself headlong into a project that few would have bet on. “It was a very busy day, with many things to try and I spent a lot of time with the engineers trying to find direction, but for me it was good, I had fun - he begins his story - I think there were some small improvements, we need to find more speed, but it seems we are on a good path. After two days of testing they have a lot of information to work on before Qatar to get some news and the next 3 days of testing will also be very useful, with all the riders on the track we will be able to better understand the level of our bike."

It's your first test as an official rider, how much did your job change?

“Quite a lot because you never do two rides in a row with the same bike. You try a lot of things, it's not about finding the best performance, but about understanding the sensations on the bike to find the direction to follow throughout the season. It's a different way of working, but it will pay off for the future and I'm pleased that all the Honda riders have the same sensations, we're going in the same direction, this will make the engineers' work easier. Bradl is the best tester we could have at the moment, of course Pedrosa is still a top rider as we also saw in the wild cards, but Stefan works well and we have a good relationship. He will be able to help us a lot."

Do you already feel comfortable in this new role?

“Yes, I love it. I have a good relationship with all the people in the garage, the Japanese are fantastic and we have a lot of laughs."

Compared to Valencia, how have the improvements been on the bike?

“I'd say they were good, but also because the sensations in Valencia weren't great. Now everything is going in the right direction, although we still have to work in several areas, especially on acceleration, on corner exit to try to have more traction. Then there is aerodynamics, where we have less experience than the other manufacturers who are inventing many solutions, but we also have our ideas, I think we have given some very good ones to the Japanese."

How much does your experience with Ducati help you at the moment?

“It's enough to allow me to develop a bike and I'm happy that Honda is following my directions. I try to be very precise and clear in my comments, to communicate in the best way with the Japanese, it can be difficult, but we understand each other and every time they bring something better than you expect."

Overall, what do you think of the Honda?

“The bike has good potential, it's nice to ride when you're alone... because you don't see the performance of the others (laughs). You feel like you're doing a great job, but then when you cross the finish line the time is a little slower than you expected. We have to work a lot, it's only the first outing with the new bike and it's very different from last year. We have to be smart to progress as quickly as possible, we have concessions but it's not that difficult to do it quickly. Ducati and KTM have been working on their package for years, we have started now."

Does the RC213V have any particular strengths?

“Compared to other bikes? It's difficult to say, the bike is easy and nice to ride, but to find maximum performance you need something more from a technical point of view. Right now, as I said, the best feature of the bike is that it is nice to ride, but if it lacks speed you lose this pleasure. I'm having fun, it has a nice chassis, but we need to be faster."

Will you have to raise the bar even more?

“Yes, these were only the very first days of the new bike and the potential is there. We will have to be smart to find the performance quickly because the rivals are making huge steps forward: KTM seems incredible, Yamaha very fast in a straight line. Honda is in a good situation, we have to work, I believe in them and in the project."

Did you think you were in a better situation?

“No, in this one. I also found positive things in Valencia and I was in contact with the Honda technicians throughout the winter and they brought me here what I asked for. It was a good start, as I expected."

How do you get on with Giacomo Guidotti, your new crew chief?

“It's nice to work with him, I like him. We still need some time, but I think we can find a good balance between the two of us."


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