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Marini urges patience at Honda as new MotoGP season approaches

New Honda signing Luca Marini has urged patience from the Japanese manufacturer as it looks set to start the new MotoGP campaign on the back foot again.

Luca Marini, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Honda is looking to snap a barren period that has seen it score one race win in two years and go without a title since 2019.

While HRC made big gains with its 2024 RC213 compared to its predecessor, Honda is still lagging behind its rivals as the new season approaches.

“We tried everything we needed to try, we understand many things,” former VR46 Ducati rider Marini said after the final day of the Qatar test.

“So, now we have a lot of data and we can prepare well in the best way for the GP.

“Looks like we are still far away, but the feeling on the bike has improved.

“So, I’m satisfied on one side but for sure the gap is really huge, especially when we want to put in new tyres, the soft tyre, we cannot use them well.”

Marini added that he didn’t expect Honda’s rivals to take the step that they have in pre-season testing and has urged HRC to remain “patient”.

“About our performance, I didn’t expect a big improvement from the others because the lap times they made here [in Qatar] and also in Sepang are incredible,” he said after ending the final test 20th.

“About our lap time, I think it was quite normal. We are in this moment where we start from really behind, we need to be patient. We will arrive.”

Luca Marini, Repsol Honda Team

Luca Marini, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Due to concession rules, Honda will be able to test freely during the year with its race riders and will be able to upgrade its engine throughout the season.

Currently, rear grip remains the issue for Honda, with Marini noting that a lack of traction is stopping him from maximising the bike on time attack while also causing problems in braking.

“We are not so strong in braking, especially when we put on a new rear soft,” he explained.

“We cannot use – I don’t know why – the rear tyre to stop the bike in braking, while Ducati uses it a lot and they can gain a lot in that moment.

“So, to try to make the lap time you have to ride in a different way and I am adapting, I’m growing.

“Today [last day of the test] I was riding much more in a Honda style compared to yesterday, so this is good. For sure, I will try to do even more when the GP starts.

“Grip, using better the rear tyre [is what we need]. Only rear. Rear in entry, middle of the corner, exit.

“Now we have to look only at this part of the bike because it’s where we are missing more.

“For sure there is a lack of other things in other parts, but now the grip is what doesn’t allow us to be strong and fast with the soft rear tyre but also with the pace with used tyres. So, we need to improve in this area.”

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