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MotoGP Qatar GP

Prospect of leaving Valentino Rossi's MotoGP team "not weird" for Marini

Luca Marini says “it’s not weird” to be looking at leaving the VR46 team to join Honda in MotoGP in 2024, claiming there has been no movement on this front.

Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

Last weekend at the Malaysian Grand Prix, Autosport revealed that Honda has been in discussions with Marini about replacing Gresini-bound Marc Marquez next year.

It looks like this will be a two-year deal, which breaks from Honda’s initial wishes to sign only a one-year contract – leading initial favourite Miguel Oliveira to stay put at RNF Aprilia.

Marini remained coy on the subject at Sepang and on Thursday ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix, he says there has been no further update on the Honda talks.

“The situation is the same as Sunday after the race,” Marini said.

“So, I can tell you nothing because I don’t have nothing to say more than I’ve already said.

“Also, for me it’s not an easy situation. I know that for your job it’s maybe even worse, but also for me because it’s difficult.

“It would be great to have more time, but Valencia is next week.

“So, we will see. I’m waiting with all of you and I think the best thing I can do is just focus on this GP, achieve a great result and try to do a good weekend.

“Here Ducati is very strong and every year it is winning races. So, I think it could be also another good track for us.”

Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

Marini, whose half brother is Valentino Rossi, has been part of the VR46 team since the 2018 when he was in Moto2 and stepped up to MotoGP with it when it took over half of the Avintia garage in 2021.

Asked if it was an odd situation to be looking at leaving the team for the factory Honda squad, Marini said: “No, I think I’m ready to absorb this whole situation.

“It’s not weird. It’s just something that is completely normal in my opinion, because every year there are changes in the teams.

“So, it’s just trying to perform well and do my best because in the end my job is to race, ride the bike in the best way that I can and work well with my team, with my engineers. And I think this season we did great things.”

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Marquez offered his praise for Honda’s decision to potentially ink a deal with Marini last weekend at Sepang, but admits he is surprised it is offering him a two-year contract.

“The natural step would be to sign a rider without a contract, for one year, and by 2025 have both bikes free,” Marquez said.

“Then you could analyse how the project is and, if you are ready to win, then you go for [Francesco] Bagnaia , [Jorge] Martín , [Pedro] Acosta, Marquez or the rider you want.

“It looks like Marini will sign for two years. So, it surprises me a little, but Honda will have their reasons.”

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