Marini opens up on Rossi’s role - and why “you have to be brave” at VR46

Luca Marini has admitted it is harder to receive Valentino Rossi’s crucial words of wisdom now the legend has retired.
Marini opens up on Rossi’s role - and why “you have to be brave” at VR46

The brothers shared only one season together in MotoGP - in 2021, Marini’s rookie year and also Rossi’s last.

Marini, who rides for his brother’s Mooney VR46 team, concedes that the week-to-week advice he once benefitted from has now changed.

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He was asked about Rossi’s guidance and told Relevo: “Yes, it helps a lot. 

“Every time you have the chance to talk to Vale, he conveys something important to you, especially when he was still racing. 

“Now it is more difficult.”

Rossi’s powers which saw him win seven premier class championships had long since deteriorated by the time he shared the 2021 season with Marini.

Marini now believes that the era his iconic sibling dominated is greatly different to what he left behind.

"The rest of the riders of the Academy, honestly, are asked only a little about Vale - more me", Marini said. 

"But it doesn't tire me, it's something that is part of my life and I like it that way.

“What changes is that Vale has raced in a very different era of MotoGP than this one.

“So now it's very difficult to make comparisons. 

“If we both competed at the same time, it would have been much worse.”

Luca Marini, Valentino Rossi MotoGP race, Valencia MotoGP. 6 November
Luca Marini, Valentino Rossi MotoGP race, Valencia MotoGP. 6 November

Rossi, now 44, presides over the Mooney VR46 team which have so far enjoyed a breakthrough year.

Marco Bezzecchi delivered his own, and his team’s, first grand prix win in Argentina.

And Rossi is tasked with a longer-term decision of whether to keep VR46 aligned with Ducati or to take them to Yamaha.

Four riders from his VR46 Academy are on today’s MotoGP grid - Marini, Bezzecchi, reigning champion Francesco Bagnaia and Franco Morbidelli.

And Marini insists that growing up together and frequently tussling in training has put them in good stead for the premier class.

“I don't know what it's like to train alone, because since I started doing it I've always been in a group,” he said. 

“In my opinion it's a good opportunity, an opportunity to squeeze yourself, it's not a guaranteed advantage, it's something you do normally, but you have to be brave and intelligent to take advantage of it. 

“Because there are other riders who train in a group that I think have not been able to take advantage of this 100%.

“It's a matter of understanding your situation and trying to be humble to learn from others, from your opponents, who are also your training partners. 

“See where they are strong, see what you lack, and try to learn, to exchange information calmly without hiding things. 

“Talk calmly and live the group in a positive way, trying, as I said, to learn from them and their strengths.

“There was no goal set, surely Vale did not think that four of us were going to make it to MotoGP. Neither do any of those who work in VR. It has been a nice surprise. 

“Vale's role was very important when he was racing and we weren't in MotoGP yet, because we had him as a reference. But then the reference changed. 

“When he left at the beginning, Franco was the one with the best results, and he became the benchmark and we all tried to grow every day to beat him. 

“Then it was Pecco who made a great leap in quality to the point of winning the championship, and now he is the reference.”

Luca Marini, MotoGP sprint race, French MotoGP, 13 May
Luca Marini, MotoGP sprint race, French MotoGP, 13 May

Marini secured his first-ever MotoGP podium in Texas, another sign that the VR46 set-up is moving in the right direction.

Next week is the Italian MotoGP at Mugello, home for Rossi and his clan.

"In general I feel very good, I am happy with how I have grown as a rider, my speed this season and the team, because it has also grown a lot compared to last year,” Marini said. 

“Although it is clear that I expected more from Portimao and in Argentina we started to work very well; in the dry it would have been better for me, but in the wet with the setting we had I didn't have much grip on the back and it was very difficult for me.

“I really like Mugello and my dream is to get on the podium at Mugello, to win at Mugello. 

“It is what I am going to try to do, also this year.

“But in MotoGP you never know, because you have to fight against 20 other top-level riders in each race.”

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