Luca Marini on Repsol Honda rumours: “A pleasure to be in this situation”

Luca Marini remains poker faced over growing rumours that he will replace Marc Marquez at Repsol Honda in MotoGP next season.
Luca Marini, Tissot Sprint race, MotoGP, Indonesian MotoGP, 14 October
Luca Marini, Tissot Sprint race, MotoGP, Indonesian MotoGP, 14 October

Among those fuelling the speculation is none other than Marini’s brother, team boss and former HRC rider Valentino Rossi, who suddenly posted a picture from his own Repsol Honda days on Instagram.

Given Rossi's previously frosty relationship with Honda, since leaving for Yamaha at the end of 2003, it is hard to imagine any other reason for the post...

Although, like most of the grid, Marini is under contract for next season, it is safe to assume that Rossi’s company will happily cancel Marini’s 2024 VR46 deal.

VR46 has always insisted its goal is to get the Academy riders into factory MotoGP teams, with Marini making no secret of his own desire to help lead bike development as an official rider.

“I have the best bike [a Ducati] but going in a factory team, developing your own bike, talking with all the engineers and following your direction is a completely different thing,” Marini said earlier in the Sepang weekend, when weighing up the Honda rumours.

“I know now my package is fantastic, the team is working very well and Ducati is a fantastic bike, performing well every time and in every situation.

“But also, as a rider, I have dreams and goals to achieve and to ride and work for a factory team is incredible in my opinion, but it needs to be the correct project in the correct situation.”

Some reports suggest that the Marini-Repsol Honda deal is as good as done and could be announced at any moment.

But as of Sunday evening, the 26-year-old Italian, who has taken his first pole and podium in MotoGP this year, continues to give little away.

“The situation is the same as yesterday and Friday, it’s just a lot of things that everybody is saying but nothing is changing in this moment,” Marini told

“I don't know,” he replied, on the possibility of an announcement on his future by Qatar next weekend.

“It's just a pleasure to be in this situation. And I would like to have the best opportunity for my career, my life and try to fight to achieve the best results that I can in the next year and the years in the future. So we will see.”

When only a single-year contract was on offer, Fabio di Giannantonio, who has lost his Gresini seat to Marc Marquez, looked the clear favourite. But HRC is now thought to have relented and will offer Marini a multi-year deal to secure his services.

Marini is eighth in the world championship heading into the penultimate round, in Qatar.

Repsol Honda needs to sign Marquez's replacement before the Valencia test on November 28, to avoid its new rider missing out on the only post-season test of 2023.

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