Honda has been troubling for Luca Marini but he returns to scene of best result

“We arrive in a different situation this year..."

Luca Marini, MotoGP race, Portuguese MotoGP, 24 March
Luca Marini, MotoGP race, Portuguese MotoGP, 24 March

Luca Marini is desperate to overturn a difficult start to his Honda career at the scene of his best-ever result.

The MotoGP of the Americas this weekend allows Marini a chance to tap into great memories of a year ago.

Then riding a VR46 Ducati, Marini finished second at the Circuit of the Americas to register his top result in three seasons in the premier class.

He has since switched to Repsol Honda as Marc Marquez’s replacement.

After two rounds of the 2024 season, he is one of three riders yet to score a single point.

But encouragingly, Honda head to COTA knowing they won last year’s grand prix amid a dreadful year. Alex Rins of LCR Honda finished ahead of Marini.

“Austin holds a special place in my heart and I have good memories from last year,” Marini said.

“We arrive in a different situation this year but I am still positive that we can make more progress in America.

“It’s a very particular circuit in Texas and you’ve seen that Honda has had something there in the past.

“No matter the track, our focus and intention stays the same as we keep building this project.”

Marini has finished a drab 20th and 17th in the two grands prix to kickstart his career as a factory rider so is hoping for improved fortunes in Texas.

Joan Mir, his teammate, has fared marginally better with seven points overall.

He has finished 13th and 12th in the first two Sunday races.

Unlike Marini, his memory of last year at COTA is not encouraging.

The race in America was among nine grands prix that Mir started but failed to finish in a woeful debut campaign with Honda.

He said: “Going to America is always nice, we only get to see the fans there once a year so it's important to put on a good show.

“We go to a third very different track in three races so we need to look and understand how the Honda is going there.

“COTA is one of the most unique layouts on the calendar and especially the first sector on track is very specific.

“Quite a lot of the track has been resurfaced since we were last here so I am looking forward to seeing how those changes impact the track.”

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