After riding from eleventh to seventh in the season-ending race, Marini took the same GP22-spec Desmosedici to a best time of 1m 30.032 at the test, keeping him 0.225s clear of Maverick Vinales (Aprilia).

“I go on holidays with a very good feeling because we finish in an amazing way this season,” Marini said. “This last test was perfect. So, very good vibes and I hope to start the next season soon!”

The downside to Marini’s performance was that he had been able to focus purely on speed due to the VR46 team not getting 2023 Ducati machinery.

instead, Marini will continue to race the same 2022 machine he took to twelfth in this year’s world championship.

Who IMPRESSED and who was FUMING at Valencia Test? | MotoGP 2022

“I expected [to be fast] because I don't have nothing to try,” he said. “So the factory riders lose a lot of time trying new stuff and we just enjoy the test, focusing on just riding well and improving what I have now.

“So we improved a little bit the bike, we improved the electronics and then also my riding was a little bit better today.

“It went very well. At the end we tried something on the bike that we didn't have time during the weekend and it was positive.

“In the first part of acceleration when you touch the gas, we were trying to have a better setting to let the bike turn a little bit more. Because during the race weekend I struggled a lot with this and [Jorge] Martin was stronger than me in this area.

“So we tried to find a little bit more speed in the middle of the corners, at the end it worked and my lap time is improved compared to the qualifying. So this is positive.”

While the 25-year-old didn’t have new hardware at the test, the technical side of the VR46 team has been boosted by new personnel.

“We have 2-3 new crew members. Two mechanics and one electronic guy, who was Mir’s data analyser,” Marini said.

“The job they have done today is fantastic. I felt really good vibes with them and very good people also. So fantastic, really positive day. Not so many things to try but in the end, it was really, really good.”

Fight for podium every race, beat Pramac to best Independent team

After 41 points and 19th place in his rookie 2021 MotoGP campaign, Marini improved to 120 points and 12th overall this season.

But while rookie team-mate Marco Bezzecchi was able to celebrate a podium, Marini had to settle for a best of fourth place (twice).

Despite the downgrade in machinery for 2023, Marini is setting high personal and team goals:

“Fight for the podium every race and try to win a race, also try to be [up] there every time in every condition and the target as a team is to be the best Independent team.

“We need to fight with Pramac, it will be difficult because Jorge and Johann are really strong, but also me and Marco are so strong and will be a very good fight between us.”

Pramac took top satellite honours by finishing fourth overall in this year’s teams’ championship, with VR46 eighth out of the twelve entries.

Marini: Bastianini proved what's possible

While the loss of 2023 Desmosedicis is a blow, Marini is inspired by Enea Bastianini’s achievements on a year-old bike this season.

While the five GP22 riders were still trying to understand their new package, Bastianini blasted to three wins in the opening seven rounds.

A fourth win plus two more podiums followed during the second half of the season as Bastianini clinched third in the world championship and a factory seat for 2023.

“I don't have a factory bike for the next year, maybe it's positive on one side because the first races we will be ready because we know very well the package,” Marini said.

But he also aims to secure some upgrades.

“During the season I hope to be strong and performing well to have some development parts from Ducati like they did this year with Bastianini,” Marini said, referring to items like the latest aero package given to the Gresini rider.

“For sure Ducati will bring a lot of new things during the season and, if you achieve good results, Gigi always told me that they are there and they will give us a big support.”

‘I need to beat the factory team, with a worse package!’

Having been left at the wrong end of a top eleven covered by half-a-second in Valencia qualifying, then missing an average of just 0.3s a lap to race winner Alex Rins, could tuning of the GP22 be enough?

“Difficult to say now. I hope that we can find, just by tuning our package, a little bit because if I made two tenths better my qualifying lap, I’d start in the second row and then it's another kind of race.

“And if I had two-three tenths more in race pace, I could win the race. So the gap between one rider to another, and one bike to another, is so small now.

“I'm satisfied with what I have now [GP22], but we need to do very good results, sometimes even better than factory riders, to [show we are] strong and let Ducati bring us something new.

“So with a worse package you need to beat them [the factory Ducati riders], it's not easy!

“But like we saw this year, Enea was able to do this many times, and then Ducati brought him new parts from the factory team. So it's possible.”

Team-mate Bezzecchi, who will also race a GP22 next season, was third fastest at the Valencia test.