Luca Marini: New engine ‘faster but less forgiving, only at 60% of the bike’

Luca Marini says Honda are yet to put all the pieces together and that a lot of potential is yet to come for the 2024 MotoGP season.

Luca Marini, Sepang MotoGP test, 6 February
Luca Marini, Sepang MotoGP test, 6 February

Luca Marini was 17th on day one of the Sepang MotoGP test as Jorge Martin was the only rider to break in the 1m 57’s.

A second down on Martin, Marini was third quickest out of the Honda riders as Johann Zarco was fastest from Joan Mir.

Marini, who already began preparations for the upcoming season last week with the Shakedown test, was pleased to have the added track time, but joked that it wasn’t a big help.

“A big no [laughs],” began Marini. “If it was big it would have been second [position] like [Pedro] Acosta.

“It is something that we need in this moment for sure. We have many things to try and to find the right direction is not easy. But we are working really hard.

“I’m really satisfied about these first [few] days. The feeling with the bike every time is much better.

“I’m enjoying every moment. We found something better during these days but still there is a lot to do.”

What was pleasing for the Italian is the development of the new engine, compared to the 2023-spec RC213V he tested at Valencia last year.

But that said, there are still problems to iron out with the engine as he claimed it was less forgiving.

Marini said: “It is faster. But it is less forgiving, not as much control but it is more in your hand. There is a little bit more power so we are struggling with grip because the torque is more.

“We need to be more careful with the throttle because the power is there. You can ride faster because the engine is stronger.”

Honda finished last season with arguably the worst bike on the grid, so changes were a necessity for 2024.

Marini, who will continue to test parts over the second and third day, said: “We have so many new things that we need to put everything in line.

“We need to work on all aspects of the bike. We improved a little bit aerodynamics, a little bit the engine, we improved a little bit the electronics, but we need to keep working like this because we are only at 60% of the bike in my opinion.”

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