Luca Marini: ‘I expected to struggle less, you need to push like hell’

Luca Marini says Honda still has a lot to work on after a difficult second day at the Sepang MotoGP test.

Luca Marini, Sepang MotoGP test, 7 February
Luca Marini, Sepang MotoGP test, 7 February

Luca Marini was unable to match the strong pace set by team-mate Joan Mir on day-two of the Sepang MotoGP test, as he struggled with used tyres.

Marini put together a 13-lap race simulation before lunch, setting ten 1m 59s lap times in that same stint.

But the Italian expected more after a solid opening day: “It was difficult. We struggled quite a bit. Today we tried many things and we arrived at the race simulation with one package that is still not ready.

“Not ready with the setting I want to say. We need to work more with my crew chief. We are still going in a good direction but we need more time.

“I expected more from the race simulation but when the tyre drops the riding changes quite a bit. It is difficult to keep pushing with good lap times.

“We know what we need to improve but we need time.”

The struggles for Marini were largely on used tyres, while team-mate Mir showed promise during his fresh rubber stint.

“I expected to struggle less but with new tyres, it is not so bad,” said Marini. “If you look at the time from Joan it is very good.

“You need to risk a lot and you need to push like hell to do a 1m 57s right now. The bike works but with used tyres we are struggling a lot.

“It looks like the difference is a lot. The gap between first and us with used tyres is more than just the six tenths to Joan compared to Jorge in the qualifying lap.”

Day-two saw riders test some of Michelin’s new front tyre allocation and Marini was pleased with the results.

But when asked if manufacturers were purposely making their riders follow each other in order to gain data on how they behave behind another rider, Marini refuted that idea and said it was for the aero effect.

Marini stated: “This is not for the tyres. I think for aerodynamics. Aprilia were all three of them together and I think for the heat, the temperature of the bike, how you feel on your body.

"Aprilia also struggled a lot in the past year, so it’s to understand a little bit on the aerodynamic side what changes on the bike.

“When you follow another rider it is quite a different situation.”

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