Marini: 'I struggled a lot with rear grip', feeling with GP21 bike better?

Echoing the thoughts of Jack Miller after day-one of the Sepang MotoGP test, Luca Marini says the GP21 bike is better at present but the GP22 has ‘a bigger potential.
Luca Marini, MotoGP, Sepang MotoGP test 6 February 2022
Luca Marini, MotoGP, Sepang MotoGP test 6 February 2022
© Gold and Goose

Should Ducati’s new Desmosedici GP22 bike live up to the hype, then second-year MotoGP rider Luca Marini will be among those very happy. 

The Mooney VR46 Ducati rider, like Jack Miller did following day-one of the Sepang MotoGP test, has stated that the GP22 package has huge potential, but that the already fully developed 21 bike would be best to start the season with. 

Unlike most of the grid, Marini was playing catch-up throughout the second day after missing more than half of yesterday’s running due to issues with both machines. 

And although the former Moto2 rider ran out of time to do a time attack, the 24 year-old was very pleased with his day after both bikes were fully repaired. 

Marini added: "Well, this second day at Sepang was really positive I think, and nice. Unfortunately, like I said yesterday we could not reach a very good base because of the problems that we had.

"But first of all I’m happy that we solved everything today and both bikes were perfect. I think that we need to be very happy. I was very quick from the start. 

"Exciting from pit lane there was a really nice feeling and I improved a lot on my lap time. I think that for just the second day here in Malaysia my lap times were really good. 

"We just tried to work a little bit on the setting and a few other things. Unfortunately in the afternoon we could not do a qualifying simulation like every rider did. We would have tried for sure, so we don’t yet know our real potential. 

"This is not the important thing right now. I’m really happy to find a good feeling for today. 

"For sure we need to work because everything is new. Also we tried to do some laps in wet conditions because it’s important to do as many laps on the new bike as possible."

Marini, who contested his rookie 2019 season on the GP19 bike, tested the 2021 Desmosedici in Jerez at the end last year, before moving onto the GP22 at this weekend’s first pre-season test.  

Talking about the differences between the 21/22 bikes and that of the 19, Marini said: "For sure between the 21 and 22 they are very similar. I tried on different tracks so it is impossible to understand very well. 

"In Jerez we had a lot of grip so the bike was easier to ride. My feeling with the 21 in Jerez was very good. 

"Here in Sepang I struggled a lot, especially with the rear grip and braking so it was not easy to fix it. But in the end I think we found a good way. We can proceed like this in Mandalika and we will see if the feeling will be better or worse." 

After finishing the day in 11th place, +0.299s behind former team-mate Enea Bastianini, Marini said he wasn’t alone in suffering rear grip issues with the new package as factory riders Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller encountered the same. 

"In general, the 21 and 22 are better than the 19 in all areas," Marini pointed out. "I struggled a lot in the last year (2021 season). For example, the turning phase and the grip on exit, but now the bike is easier to stop. 

"Between the 21 and 22 I cannot tell you something really clearly. I struggled a lot with the rear grip and I know that Pecco [Bagnaia] and Jack [Miller] also struggled a lot with the rear grip. 

"But I don’t think Ducati changed anything that could cause this problem. I think the potential of the new bike is for sure very high. We just need to understand and prepare everything well for the championship. 

"I think in the first races the 21 can be stronger because they won a lot of races with that bike. I suppose from the beginning it can be one of the fastest bikes on the grid, but the 22 has a bigger potential. Both bikes are very strong so I think Ducati is doing a really nice job."

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