Luca Marini: Honda gap “huge” on soft tyre, “we need to be patient”

Luca Marini: "I was following the other bikes and could see where they are stronger than us"

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

Luca Marini heads into his first season as a Repsol Honda MotoGP rider under no illusions about the size of the task ahead.

The Italian finished 1.7s from Francesco Bagnaia at the final pre-season test in Qatar, as the four RCV riders were classified a closely matched 17th (Johann Zarco), 18th (Takaaki Nakagami), 19th (Joan Mir) and 20th (Marini).

The time attack form served to highlight the ongoing lack of rear grip produced by the Honda.

“It looks like we are still far away, but the feeling on the bike is improved today, so I'm satisfied on one side,” Marini said.

“But for sure the gap is really huge, especially when we want to put the new tyre, the soft tyre, we cannot use them well.

“In this moment we start really from behind, we need to be patient. We will arrive.”

But at least the area of weakness is crystal clear.

“Rear grip! In entry, mid-corner and on exit. Now we have to look only at this part of the bike, because it's where we are missing more,” said the former VR46 Ducati rider.

“For sure there is a lack in some other things on the bike. But for now, the grip is what doesn't allow us to be fast and strong, with the soft rear tyre especially, but also with the pace with used tyres.

“It's not only on exit, but it's also on entry to the corner, because today I was following a bit all the other bikes and I could see where they are stronger than us.”

Turning to the record-breaking lap time of fellow VR46 Academy rider and reigning double world champion Bagnaia, Marini quipped:

“I think that Pecco is pushing to have more [bargaining] power for the [new] contract with Ducati!

“He's showing his strength and he's doing a great job.”

Marini will make his Repsol Honda race debut back in Qatar on March 8-10.

Average lap time during longer runs, Qatar Test - Day 2

  • Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) 1m 52.106s (7 laps)
  • Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 1m 52.430s (7 laps)
  • Fabio di Giannantonio (Ducati) 1m 52.533s (11 laps)
  • Enea Bastianini (Ducati) 1m 52.541s (10 laps)
  • Marco Bezzecchi (Ducati) 1m 52.951s (9 laps)
  • Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) 1m 53.042s (10 laps)
  • Brad Binder (KTM) 1m 53.224s (22 laps)
  • Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) 1m 53.322s (17 laps)
  • Takaaki Nakagami (Honda) 1m 53.544s (14 laps)
  • Jack Miller (KTM) 1m 53.614s (8 laps)
  • Alex Marquez (Ducati) 1m 53.693s (18 laps)
  • Pedro Acosta (KTM) 1m 53.710s (18 laps*)
  • Luca Marini (Honda) 1m 53.840s (14 laps)
  • Johann Zarco (Honda) 1m 53.876s (10 laps)
  • Miguel Oliveira (Aprilia) 1m 54.005s (10 laps)
  • Augusto Fernandez (KTM) 1m 54.076 (13 laps*)

*Slow laps removed

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