Mooney VR46 Ducati rider Luca Marini believes engine braking and corner entry are the two key areas that need improving for the 2022 MotoGP season. 

Next month’s season opener in Qatar will see Marini begin his second season in MotoGP, and after an impressive pre-season which saw him finish the second day of testing in Mandalika fastest, the Italian rider looks to be in much better shape compared to this time last year when he competed on the GP19. 

Marini, who has lauded the team for their work during the Sepang and Mandalika tests, feels continued progress with the GP22 has been made, despite several small details that need improving. This is led by the above-mentioned engine braking and corner entry. 

In fact, the former 2020 Moto2 runner-up alluded to corner exit playing a very little role in modern MotoGP when trying to make lap time, instead saying ‘all your attention’ needs to be devoted to braking so that it can also help limit the amount of overtaking that needs to be done.

When asked what’s still missing heading into the opening round - specifically to do with electronics and set-up, Marini added; "Both! I think the team is doing a great job for these two tests. I’ve grown a lot together with my crew. We for sure have improved and are working in a good direction. 

"But there’s something on the electronics, especially the engine brake. We have to find the correct compromise with the engine brake because like everybody I want to brake harder this year. 

"It will be tough doing overtakes every time and to make lap time with these tyres we make only in braking and entry. It doesn’t matter the exit, you just have to focus all your attention in that area of the riding. 

"I think the setting also; I would like to have a little bit more feeling in the front and that’s it. It’s just details because I think the base is really good. 

"We also need to try the bike in other circuits and we will see our potential. The bike is new so there is a lot to discover."

On the other side of the Mooney VR46 Ducati garage, rookie Marco Bezzecchi will be making his official premier class debut in Losail.   

Bezzecchi pipped Fabio Di Giannantonio to top rookie honours during the Mandalika test after the two Italians were separated by just +0.014s. 

Although Bezzecchi, Di Giannantonio, Remy Gardner, Raul Fernandez and Darryn Binder had three extra days of action compared to most of the MotoGP grid heading into last weekend’s test, the VR46 academy rider was still ‘a little bit worried’ by the gaps on day one.

However, significant steps were made by Bezzecchi during the following two days, particularly when it came to his race pace. Bezzecchi also managed to shave five tenths off his day two time attack lap at the beginning of Sunday’s running.

"The first day I was a little bit worried because the gap was a bit bigger (compared to Malaysia), but also I was a little bit more in trouble with some points of the track," said Bezzecchi. 

"Then from yesterday to today we made a big step especially on the pace. I was very happy for this. 

"For me this was an improvement. For the rookies, honestly, at the moment I don't know what to expect because everyone is very fast. I will try my best."