Luca Marini faces his second MotoGP season in a stronger shape both physically and technically.

Ahead of only Tech3 KTM riders Iker Lecuona and Danilo Petrucci in last year's world championship while riding a 2019-spec Ducati, Marini heads into the new season having topped the penultimate day of pre-season testing on the very latest Desmosedici machinery.

The young Italian is adament there was no silver lining to spending his rookie campaign on the outdated GP19 and feels a sense of 'serenity' now that the new VR46 team, owned by older brother Valentino Rossi, has secured access to GP22 machinery.

"It was just worse. Everything was more difficult," Marini said of the two-year bike, which he took to a best of fifth place and a front row start last year, while former Avintia team-mate Enea Bastianini celebrated two podiums.

"Everything was more stressful because with a technical package that is not at the same level [as the top riders], you stress yourself more to try to do something more. This was a problem in my opinion last year because I was not able to ride with calmness, serenity and trying to enjoy the moment.

"I didn't work enough maybe on some details whereas in these tests with the 2022 I had more time to prepare the bike, myself and feel comfortable on it. Not try to put one fast lap just to stay in front.

"Everything went more calmly and I enjoyed a lot the feeling on the new bike. You also feel more passion because you know you have the same bike as the other riders."

The benefits also extend to comparing data with the Factory Ducati or Pramac riders.

"When you check the data, if another rider made a different manoeuvre compared to you, you can do that with no problem when you have the same bike," he said. "Maybe with the [older] bike you would try to do something that the bike doesn't let you do. So it was not easy. It was really tough.

"The bike this year is fantastic. It is very strong I think from the start of the season, for sure with the 2022 we need to work a little bit, but after some races it will be at the top."

Marini is seeking to match the performance upgrade from his machinery by upping his game as a rider, tuning both his technique and physical condition for success in MotoGP's 'most difficult era'.

With only one year of MotoGP under his belt, and seven in grand prix, there are doubtless gains to be made. But he also takes inspiration from how 37-year-old Lewis Hamilton has been able to find constant improvements throughout his 14 seasons in F1.

"In my opinion it's very important to try to improve yourself every year. Don’t stop," Marini said. "A great example is Lewis Hamilton, in my opinion. It's fantastic how he can work on himself to try to do another step forward every year to achieve great results.

"So this is the way and now MotoGP is so competitive, so difficult, maybe it's the most difficult era.

"You have to work on details and never feel happy. Just enjoy the good moments for a few days but then work on yourself, on your riding style and something more to improve because all the other riders still grow a lot every day and I'm working on myself in all areas.

"On my riding style I changed a lot compared to last year, adapting myself to the Ducati and improving on my weaknesses. But now also I'm able to adapt the Ducati to what I need to feel comfortable on the bike so this is a great moment for me.

"I think that I can say that I'm really stronger compared to last year. In the test in Indonesia I was able to improve a lot, also in the race simulation. I understood better the feeling with the front tyre over a long race distance because it changes a lot when you stay in the slipstream of other riders.

"The pressure goes very high and it's difficult to ride the bike in that situation. Last year I remember I struggled a lot in that specific case. But now I feel that I'm ready for all the situations that happen in a race, which is always more difficult with respect to all the practices.

"So I'm quite satisfied with my level now but for sure I can improve a lot, even more, like the bike also can grow a lot."

On the physical side, Marini revealed that the past injuries and a resulting operation on his left shoulder (similar to Marc Marquez) mean it is still not at the level of his 'normal' right shoulder. Something he has targeted over the winter.

"Our standard of physical preparing is good but I just tried to do something more specific for me. Because there are a lot of riders in the Academy but I wanted to do some more details about what I need more on the bike and where I struggled more last year especially," Marini explained.

"My left shoulder, after a lot of injuries and then the surgery, never felt like the right shoulder. So this is an area where there is a lack of strength a little bit and I cannot work on that shoulder like with the normal shoulder.

"I needed to do some specific [exercises] and spend more time with that and I think that now I've reached a good level."

All of which means Marini is in confident mood as he prepares to headline VR46's first season as a full MotoGP team.

"There is a very good air around all the riders, the bikes and the people that are working with us," said Marini, a six time grand prix winner in the Moto2 class.

"It's nice to be in a 'family' but what is most important is that we have the same goal. We want to achieve great results in MotoGP like we did in Moto2.

"So this is a great feeling, a push from also all the other people that are working with me, trying to do the correct things to be there in the top positions of the MotoGP."

Aiding Marini in his quest for at least a debut podium this season will be his brother's former crew chief David Munoz.

"The work with David is great, my relationship with him is fantastic, I admire him as a person also not just as a crew chief because he is very, very good person and I like a lot to work with him," Marini said.

"For sure he will be a key member of the crew because he has very good experience, not so much maybe in MotoGP, but he's so smart and clever and very calm in difficult situations. So he will be very important for me this year and I hope also in the future."

One VR46 Academy rider with his Ducati future already secured is Francesco Bagnaia, who recently signed a new two-year deal with the factory team.

"I think it's great for everybody, for Ducati and Pecco," Marini said. "Also it's great to do the renewal now because you can start the season with your mind more free. You can just think race-by-race and try to win this title, that Ducati wants so much and also Pecco."

Rookie Marco Bezzecchi will ride alongside Marini this season, using GP21 machinery.