Luca Marini details problems from nightmare Repsol Honda debut

Concessions have allowed Luca Marini to test twice since the Qatar MotoGP

Luca Marini, MotoGP race, Qatar MotoGP, 10 March
Luca Marini, MotoGP race, Qatar MotoGP, 10 March

Luca Marini has twice tested at Jerez since the Qatar MotoGP to get to grips with his new Honda.

Ahead of this weekend’s Portuguese MotoGP at Portimao, Marini is entering with extra practice under his belt as a result of the new concessions rules.

The rule - which enables Honda to organise private tests - was taken advantage of twice in the past fortnight, with Marini testing his Honda at the Jerez track.

His Repsol Honda race debut yielded an extremely worrying 20th-place finish at the season-opener in Qatar.

“It was great to have a day to enjoy the bike at a different track,” he said in Portimao.

“It was a really good test.

“I think that we found a base for the bike that works really well in Jerez. I hope it also works here.

“It will be interesting to see, at a different track, if everything is okay or not.

“We made changes to the bike. After the Qatar GP, we analysed everything.

“We understood what went bad. Now, we are trying to fix it.

“We are in a good way now.

“I am curious to see how the bike works here.

“For Honda in history, this is a better track than Qatar. So we should be closer to the top riders.”

Marini detailed the issues he experienced during his first race weekend with Honda: “The problem was that the feeling of the bike was not so good, especially in the turning area. I struggled a lot.

“The setting had too much load on the front.

“My riding style? I am very tall, very long, so on the bike I put a lot of weight on the tyres.

“If we’re not in the perfect balance - also, in the past it has been like this - then we have a problem.

“Also, in the past I put too much load on the rear. I am taller and heavier than the others so I put too much weight on the tyres then I have problems in the race with temperature or degradation to the tyres.

“We need to find the base of the bike. Jerez helped with this solution.”

Johann Zarco, the new LCR Honda rider who is also adjusting from riding a Ducati last year, has pinpointed grip during acceleration as his key problem.

Marini reacted: “I think Johann is maybe the best rider in the world at using the acceleration of a bike.

“At Ducati he made up his lap time on the exit of the corners.

“That is really strange, because the normal thing is to make the time in braking entry.

“But he’s so strong in exit that he can be fast just by using his speed in the exit.

“He’s doing a great job for Honda using this part of his riding style.

“For sure, he’s more sensitive in this area than the others.

“For me, it’s not where I am losing the most. For me, there is more time in the middle of the corner compared to Ducati.

“In the first part of acceleration, KTM and Aprilia are the strongest because they have the most grip.

“But we can defend in that moment.

“In the second part of acceleration, Ducati are the strongest and we are not so bad. Maybe better than Aprilia and Yamaha, I think.

“In the middle of the corner we are the slowest, on my side.”

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