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MotoGP, Marini: "Everything works well on the Honda, but a second and a half of performance is missing"

"Slowly we are fixing every part of the bike, one by one. If it was just the aerodynamics we would have solved it quickly, but we need to work on the mechanical component as well."

MotoGP: Marini:

Luca Marini and the Repsol Honda team return to Mugello, after the Wednesday private test held before the trip to Barcelona. A test that according to Luca will not make life easier for the Japanese troop, which can, however, count on the new aerodynamic package prepared by the Tokyo-based manufacturer.

"I really don't think it will be easier after the test. Every weekend is difficult, and the test we did here was aimed at developing the bike. So, we tried a lot of updates, without focusing on the set-up. We will start from the same base we used in Barcelona, because I felt better with that. We'll see how it will go here, where we have something more than in Barcelona, in terms of updates, which maybe can help us get closer to the top - Luca explained - We saw with Zarco that the new aerodynamic package is positive, as he had better feelings, so we'll use it here, without wasting time waiting for Monday's test. We're sure it works, but it's certainly not enough: we need to work more on the aerodynamics front, because I think Ducati and KTM, in particular, develop this area a lot every year, improving a lot. Aprilia is also working from the beginning on aerodynamics and has a very good base, although it looks a little different from the other bikes."

Despite arriving at his home Grand Prix with no particular prospects for a result, it still doesn't take away from Marini's Mugello magic.

"I have a special helmet, but it has nothing to do with the baby. That, I'll spoil it for you, I'll have it in Misano, when it's a little while before the birth," - he revealed - This is a special and very important Grand Prix for me, because it's the one I look forward to most every year, along with Misano. I like the track, it is fun, and there is a good atmosphere with all the fans, however, yes, we definitely do not come to the races saying 'let's fight for the podium', but thinking to do our best and develop the bike in the best way, collect data also in this race and, in my case, to be in front of my Honda teammates, which is certainly the most correct goal to set at this moment, because we all have more or less the same package. There are those who have different specs and those who are the same as mine, but each of us is trying to do our best to win this challenge between us. It will be a great Honda Cup!"

And why not a Japanese Cup, expanding the competition to Yamaha rivals?

"I think the Yamaha was very strong in the tests here, and both Rins and Quartararo lapped on very good times. So, it seems that at the moment they are a little bit ahead with the work, also because they didn't start from the back," replied the 26-year-old. " Our position at the beginning of the season was much worse than theirs, but we are getting closer to the other manufacturers with each GP and we have to keep working in this way because I have confidence that at the end of the season we will be much closer and we will be able to have fun.

The goal for the future is obviously to aim for more than just being the first of the Honda riders under the checkered flag. With the understanding that internal competition will still not be diminished.

"The Honda Cup will always remain, just as there is also the Ducati Cup. It's the same thing, only they are in a different position in the standings," Marini noted, "However, I'm very positive: I don't know when, but there will come races where we can fight for better positions. I don't know if that will mean being in the fight for 10th place or 6th. For the podium, except in some very special situations, it will be very difficult this season, however, never underestimate the Japanese, who occasionally pull out something really good."

Beyond the chronometric feedback, for that matter, Luca has nothing to complain about the RC213V. Not even talking about the starting devices.

"They are easier on the Honda's than the Ducati's, but the problem is that you miss time because starting on the last row you arrive last on the grid and the guy with the red flag is in a hurry to leave, " he said, laughing. "Now to activate the launch control you just have to click the button. I don't know if the other Honda riders have requested it too, but for me it's more convenient. Everything on the Honda is very precise, very safe, and it works really well, devices included, however, it lacks a second and a half of performance."

Asked about the nature of Honda's problems, Luca went on to explain, "In my opinion, you can perfectly understand from the first day whether it was mechanical or aerodynamic problems with the bike, and slowly we are fixing each part, one by one. If it was just the aerodynamics we would have fixed it quickly, but it's both components, the mechanical and the aerodynamic. That's the problem (smiles)."

Having so much work to do, the Urbino man is convinced that teaming up is the best way to reduce the time needed to get out of the crisis.

"I have proposed several times to try to work more together at this time, when we cannot fight for something important. Then, when we can play for podiums, races, or even the Top 5, everyone will do their own work. But in my opinion now we just have to try to reduce the time it will take to get back to the top," he admitted, " We will definitely get back there, but the problem is that we don't know how long it will take because the other manufacturers are working a lot every year and improving. When this situation was opposite, and the concessions were held by teams other than Honda, they all structured themselves a little differently, while Honda and Yamaha more or less maintained the advantage they had in those years. In this MotoGP era, the situation has changed a little bit."

Staying on the subject of change, one cannot help but talk about the new tires brought in this year by Michelin, which are helping to significantly improve performance.

"It's a little bit harder for me to give feedback on this, because I'm on a different bike, however, it seems that the tires have a little bit more grip ," explained the Honda rider . "Michelin has improved the technology and has also changed its policy, bringing us new tires in every race, so that there are no more pre-heated tires. This greatly improves the performance of all the riders, because you can work at 100 percent from FP1, but it should also be said that the bikes have also improved. I think what has changed the most is the fact that there is a phase in corner entry where the tire has more grip than last year, which also leads you to go a little bit wide, and the way you can handle this makes a difference in the corners, because if you struggle the bike turns less than last year."

That the new tires have contributed to making the Ducati GP23 more complex to ride? "It's hard to say from the outside. From what I see, it is true that they are suffering a lot, however Marquez is going strong and is on the podium every weekend, so a way to make the GP23 go strong is definitely there," Marini concluded.

Automatic Translation by DeepL

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