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MotoGP, Marini: "The Honda has defects but it's nicer to ride than the Ducati."

"Despite the difficulties even on new rubber, I personally feel better. It's no accident that the Japanese sell more bikes. Yamaha is ahead of us." Mir: "With the new aerodynamics we can hope to get closer."

MotoGP: Marini:

As the races go by, HRC's situation seems to be becoming stagnant, and although the manufacturer has been as responsive as ever, the results are struggling to come in. On the first day of action at Montmelo Luca Marini and Joan Mir consistently occupied the lowest part of the standings, but even though on the surface there would be little to be cheerful about, both are making an effort to do so.

"If anything could have gone wrong this afternoon it did, plus when everyone was going onto the track, I was forced to pit, so I didn't have a chance to get in someone's slipstream to set a time. I did some good laps, but I could not work on the bike as I would have liked and in fact the times feedback remained the same as in the morning - were the words of the Italian - Overall everything is pretty much under control. Honda has brought some innovations that are working, in particular the aerodynamics seems to be going in the right direction and in fact Nakagami has not accumulated a very large gap from Bagnaia, considering that here the Ducatis always make the difference. We'll see tomorrow. Japan Cup? There never was, as Yamaha is ahead of us in every aspect, having won the World Championship in 2021. Our gap from them? I'm not looking at that, I only think about that from the frontrunners."

Speaking of riding sensations, the rider from the Marche was equally pragmatic. "Better today than during the private test, because on that occasion we focused on development. On a race Friday you also and above all think about performance. Did the weather affect it? No, as it was better than expected. That said, racing on this circuit is a thrill. When Free Practice 1 starts it is always something special, seeing all the curbs and lines freshly painted. Already a few people have been seen on the grassy banks, so we're hoping for a full house."

What's different about riding here on the Desmosedici to the RC213V?

"As I always say, with the Honda even if you're on new tyres and lift off ten meters later you're lapping the same, instead with the Ducati by postponing you go harder. This makes life easier in the chase for the time, however, the Japanese bike is nicer to ride and I personally feel very good with the front, both in changes of direction and in corner entry I feel better. When you lift the bike up, however, the performance is lacking," he explained, "Would it sell more than the Panigale V4 S if they made a standard production bike? Definitely, I think Honda would sell more."

In 2023 Marquez with HRC had exploited the slipstream of the Borgo Panigale bikes to set a fast time. Is that a possible strategy?

"Currently they are going too strong compared to us, then Marc had this bike tailor made to him, consequently he was able to express himself at his best. Overall, the GP24 has improved a lot when compared to the GP23, particularly in terms of aerodynamics and engine under braking, while the converse does not apply to us, in fact in some aspects we have even gotten worse. In any case sticking to them is a good method if you are in trouble and allows you to gain a couple of tenths on the straight," he acknowledged.

Just like the ex-VR46 Racing rider, so was his teammate cautious and realistic, albeit with an extra ounce of optimism.

"It's complicated to talk about potential because we are trying a somewhat different bike, especially in the aerodynamics which is new to me. For now it seems to be a step forward. In the straights it is faster and in fact I was able to stay behind some of the Ducatis; on the other hand we have problems in other areas like the front so you have to work a lot on setting. Overall even if we are not from Q2, some progress has been made. The feeling was not bad, but it is clear that you cannot make a sudden change. Also because of the type of grip that there is we continue to suffer, however I think this Friday a 1'45 high could be achieved, but for various reasons I did not make it. The new fairing? We are all trying it out, to sort out what should be discarded or kept."

Asked who decides what needs to be tried, the Spaniard explained, "Everyone makes their own comments and the Japanese decide what to focus on. It seems to me that the approach we are taking is logical. At Montmelo we had a package with a different powertrain configuration that I personally did not like and as a result we went back. Here actually good progress has been made which makes me confident," he concluded.


Translated by Julian Thomas

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