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MotoGP, Marini: “Today I'm happy, it will be more difficult to be in the next few days”

“I feel good with Honda, we have created a great group, and the sensations with the bike are good, but we still lack performance. We are far from our true potential."

MotoGP: Marini: “Today I'm happy, it will be more difficult to be in the next few days”

After three years riding the Desmosedici of the VR46 team, the time has come for Luca Marini to officially begin an electrifying new chapter in his career, tackling his first weekend as an official rider for the Repsol Honda team in Qatar. A great responsibility for the 26-year-old, Marc Marquez's designated heir astride the RC213V.

“I'm very happy to be here for the first race and I can't wait to get started. I am very happy at the moment, certainly in the next few days it will be a bit more difficult to be, but we must be objective: we are aware of our current potential and we must try to keep an open mind and work well in the first races, especially because we will need to get ourselves right and develop the bike as best as possible and get the most we can at this time. The goal now, however, is not this, but to find a way to close the gap with the leaders and get to fight for more important positions in the shortest time possible - said Luca on the eve of the weekend - In my opinion we are still quite far away from the true potential of the bike, but we need more time and, right now, it's not easy to get settled in on race weekends, because the only useful session to try something is the first practice session, but you only have 20 minutes available, before focusing on the time attack."

Improving race after race is in fact the main goal of the Marche native and of the entire Honda squad, who will take advantage of this start to the season to fully understand his potential and the path to follow to return to the top.

“We will have to see what our potential will be because in the tests we carried out here all the Hondas were not particularly fast and competitive, because this is not a perfect track for us. I think our potential is a bit higher than what we saw in the tests, but it's impossible to say now because we don't know how much the others pushed, how much fuel or what tyres they used" observed Marini, not too surprised by the quick times seen in the tests at Sepang and Lusail: “I think it's the result of several aspects. Nobody talks about it, but the tyres have improved a lot this year and so have the tracks, the asphalt has more rubber and allows the riders to do many more laps than before. Furthermore, the level of motorcycles has also progressed a lot in the last three or four years."

Although the season is now ready to begin, there is no shortage of work to be done at Honda. So what makes Maro so happy to start this new championship?

“We've built a great group, I feel really good in my team and we spoke with each other all winter. I have a fantastic relationship with my team members and I also get on very well with the Japanese, we are always in contact and I am happy that they listen to my feedback a lot and that they have always brought something new to these tests. There will also be updates in the next races and we just need to have the right time to get where we can get. There is a good climate and I think we can do a good job together - he explained - I am very happy with Honda's reaction and the work we have done. Overall we did a good job in the winter tests and the bike improved in all areas, although rear grip remained the only aspect that we weren't able to fix enough. We are still far from the leaders in terms of grip entering, cornering and exiting corners."

Despite some defects still to be corrected, Luca seems to have adapted quickly to the RC213V.

“I started from Joan's ergonomics and then I prepared my bike and now it is perfectly suited to me,” he said. “The bike feels fantastic when you change gear, and I think we are quite strong in terms of electronics. There are still several things we need to improve, we have a good margin, but the bike is very competitive in this respect. Furthermore, it is very simple to ride and the feeling with the front is very good. The bike is good until you finish the lap and look at the times. The sensations are good, but the performance is missing."

Going from a satellite team to an official team undergoing reconstruction is no small thing, but for the Marche native the change wasn't even that radical.

“It's not completely different, because I'm still a MotoGP rider trying to win and get on the podium, but it's obvious that now the responsibilities are quite high, even for the manufacturer, because we have to do a good job despite starting from far behind. But this motivates me even more to do a good job and help Honda take the right steps to improve in the shortest time possible, because we have to get to the halfway point of the season trying to fight for good positions. Maybe it won't be easy and we will have to think about it next year, but we have to focus on what we have right now. I will try to give my feedback to the Japanese and the engineers to see if in the first races we will be able to find solutions and some updates" explained Luca, admitting that he does not feel any particular pressure on his shoulders: "I don't think it's different, because the goal is always to win whether you start eighth or fourteenth. This is why I think the pressure is always the same."

The collaboration with Johann Zarco and his team-mate Joan Mir, in his second year in the Honda Repsol team, will also be another big help for Marini, who is already satisfied with the support and praise received from his colleagues.

“I am very happy with the words that Joan and Zarco said towards me, because they have always been very nice to me. We must be united at this moment because I think that by working well together we will be able to achieve our goal in less time - he commented - Watching Mir will certainly help me a lot because last year he managed to work on his style, even if it wasn't an easy season for him, and he already rides the way the Honda requires. You can see that he has the bike in hand and that he knows where to push, especially on the flying lap. It will be interesting to go up against him this year."


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