Luca Marini: “Honda listen, a lot, to my feedback… but it’s not enough”

Luca Marini pleased with how Honda listen to him - but has warned their progress so far is not enough

Luca Marini Qatar MotoGP test, 19 February
Luca Marini Qatar MotoGP test, 19 February

Luca Marini has praised Honda for developing the bike with his feedback in mind - but he has warned that the Ducatis are still a long way off.

Marini was only 18th-fastest on Monday at the MotoGP preseason test in Qatar.

Their search for more downforce included the use of a large new aero.

“We worked on a lot, not only the aero package,” Marini explained.

“It feels interesting. Nothing huge, no big improvements. But small details which will help for the season.

“We understand the direction of the work.

“They listen, a lot, to my feedback.

“Every time, something positive arrives. In Qatar we have more items to try, compared to Sepang.

“This is great because every time we try something new, it works.

“The bike is developing but the other manufacturers are growing a lot.

“So we still need to work harder because it’s not enough.”

Luca Marini Qatar MotoGP test, 19 February
Luca Marini Qatar MotoGP test, 19 February

The timesheets on Monday were topped by Francesco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin, the Ducati duo who fought for the championship until the final round of last season.

Aleix Espargaro of Aprilia and Brad Binder of KTM were third and fourth, establishing those manufacturers much nearer the front than Honda.

But Marini sees positives: “As the first day, this was better than the first day of Sepang.

“I am growing. Very lap was better because I understand the bike better.

“Here, I am riding better compared to Sepang. “More similar to what Honda needs to go fast.

[Tuesday] I will try to be even stronger and faster.”

His plan for the rest of the Qatar test: “Most of the items we have tried. [Tuesday] is about focusing on performance.

“To try to understand better which area we must work.

“The rear grip is one of the most important things.

“We will try to be in the top 10 because, in a few weeks, we will be here for the race.”

Marini left VR46 Ducati to take on his first challenge as a factory rider, replacing Marc Marquez at Repsol Honda.

He enters the mighty Japanese manufacturer at a low ebb for them, after a few disastrous campaigns.

But Marini’s skilled and concise feedback was seen as a key reason that Honda wanted to bring him in, to develop their bike.

He is tied to a long-term deal, one of just two MotoGP riders contracted beyond the end of 2024, a major show of faith from Honda.

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