Luca Marini Describes Challenges from Disastrous Repsol Honda Debut

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Luca Marini Granted Two Testing Opportunities Due to Concessions After Qatar MotoGP.

Luca Marini has undergone two testing sessions at Jerez since the Qatar MotoGP to familiarize himself with his new Honda.

Heading into this weekend’s Portuguese MotoGP at Portimao, Marini arrives with additional practice thanks to the new concessions rules.

Under these regulations, allowing Honda to arrange private tests, Marini took advantage of this opportunity twice in the past two weeks, testing his Honda at the Jerez circuit.

Following his challenging 20th-place finish in Qatar, Marini expressed his satisfaction with the testing, stating, “It was fantastic to have a day to explore the bike on a different track.”

“We had a really productive test at Jerez and found a strong base setup for the bike. I’m hopeful that it will also perform well here.”

“As we transition to a new track, it will be intriguing to see how everything translates and if we’re on the right path.”

“We’ve implemented changes to the bike. After the Qatar GP, we thoroughly analyzed everything. We identified the issues and now we’re working to rectify them. I believe we’re on the right path now.

“I’m eager to see how the bike performs here. Historically, this track has been better for Honda than Qatar, so we should be closer to the front-runners.”


Marini delved into the challenges he faced during his debut race weekend with Honda: “The main issue was the bike’s feeling, particularly in the turns. I struggled quite a bit.

“The setup had too much front load. Given my tall stature, I naturally put a lot of weight on the tires while riding.

“If the balance isn’t spot on – as it has been in the past – then problems arise. Additionally, I tend to put too much load on the rear. Being taller and heavier than most riders, this affects tire temperature and degradation during races.

“We need to find the right base setup for the bike, and the test at Jerez helped us move in that direction.”

Johann Zarco, the new LCR Honda rider transitioning from Ducati last season, highlighted grip issues during acceleration as his main challenge.

In response, Marini remarked, “I think Johann is perhaps the best in the world at utilizing a bike’s acceleration. At Ducati, he gained time on the corner exits.

“It’s quite unusual because typically lap times are made on entry to corners. However, Johann’s strength lies in the exit speed.

“He’s doing an excellent job for Honda, capitalizing on this aspect of his riding style. He may be more sensitive in this area than others.

“For me, acceleration isn’t where I’m losing the most time. I find there’s more to gain in the middle of the corners compared to Ducati.

“During the initial acceleration phase, KTM and Aprilia have superior grip. However, we can defend ourselves at that point.

“In the latter part of acceleration, Ducati excels, and we’re not too far behind. Possibly even better than Aprilia and Yamaha, I believe.

“In the middle of the corner, that’s where we are slower, from my perspective.”

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