Luca Marini reveals ‘test’ plan after Honda’s grim Portimao sprint

"We need to use this time on track to understand the behaviour of the bike," says 18th-placed Luca Marini

Luca Marini, MotoGP, Portuguese MotoGP
Luca Marini, MotoGP, Portuguese MotoGP

Luca Marini insists that Honda used the Portuguese MotoGP sprint race partly as a test to develop their bike.

Honda endured a horrible Saturday in Portimao, qualifying in the back four grid positions. Marini lined up 22nd.

Joan Mir’s 14th-place finish in the sprint was as good as it got for the struggling Japanese manufacturer.

Repsol Honda teammate Marini was 18th, the last of the riders to finish the race.

LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami was 17th, while Johann Zarco did not finish.

Marini admitted that he was half-racing and half-testing on Saturday.

“Both. At this moment, we cannot fight for points in a sprint race,” he said.

“So we need to use this time on track to understand the behaviour of the bike.

“Now, it’s really difficult to work on Fridays. You do only five or six laps in a row, no more.

“So you cannot see the tyres. You start, and you stop…

“The sprint is good to understand more things, to have more information, to prepare better for the race tomorrow.”

He insisted: “Also, in the sprint, I am not going slow. I’m pushing 100% because I want to beat my teammate.”

But Marini, Honda’s replacement for Marc Marquez, was unable to do that.

He detailed his issues: “Maybe tougher than expected.

“We tried a different setting for the sprint. We needed to test it, to try 12 laps in a row with the same tyres.

“We found something on the exit of corners. But we lost a lot on entry and turning.

“For sure, it was not the perfect combination. We need to analyse the data to make it better for tomorrow.”

Marini said about qualifying: “We are not strong for a time attack because of a lack of grip in the rear.”

Yet, despite a torrid Saturday, Marini insists the data-gathering expedition was beneficial.

“But, the sprint was positive,” he said.

“We need to use every lap on track for information for the engineers to develop the bike.

“Because ]we are in a] rush. Everyone wants to be more competitive, fighting for better positions.”

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