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Top 10s in 2023 «not enough» to justify sacrifices to race in MotoGP – Marini


Marini will begin his third season in MotoGP next weekend in the Portuguese Grand Prix and remains with the Ducati satellite squad owned by his brother, Valentino Rossi.

The 25-year-old finished 12th last season in the standings with a best result of fourth on two occasions.

With his rookie team-mate Marco Bezzecchi scoring a podium in the Netherlands and a pole in Thailand, much more is expected of Marini in 2023, especially after a strong pre-season phase.

Asked if he was facing more pressure from his homeland to score bigger results in 2023, Marini said: “It’s better [this way], because to have the motivation to make a MotoGP race fighting [just] for 10th is not enough for all the sacrifice you have to do to be here and what you did in your career to be here when you were young.

“I want to fight for the top five positions from now to when I retire. So, I like to be with this pressure.”

Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

With Francesco Bagnaia ending the Portugal test last week with an unofficial lap record at the top of the timesheets, Marini says the reason the reigning world champion is a step ahead of all other Ducati riders is down to the fact his strong 2022 season means he has a good base set-up for every track.

“He made an amazing season last year, so every time he arrives in one track everything is prepared, everything is set at 100% because last year he was so strong,” Marini said.

“So, he started with a very good base. Now his bike is at 100%, with the 2023 bike they are happy and satisfied about the job.

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“But especially on the electronics side, he has everything at 100%, while we need to work a little bit.”

Marini did have a factory-spec Ducati last season and will continue with the 2022-spec bike, after the Italian manufacturer trimmed its full works support down to four riders across its main team and Pramac.



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Zarco ‘needs to change’ to be able to win in MotoGP in 2023


Since making his MotoGP debut in 2017, Zarco has scored 15 podiums but has yet to breach the top step of the rostrum.

The double Moto2 champion has made it to the podium at least once in the three seasons he has been a Ducati rider, first with Avintia in 2020 and then with Pramac over the last two years.

But with a best result of second twice in 2022 marking the closest he got to scoring his first win in the class, Zarco admits coming into 2023 that he must alter his riding approach on the GP23 to have a chance at securing a victory.

“I’m trying things, and even on riding,” he said during last week’s Portugal pre-season test, in which he was second overall behind world champion Francesco Bagnaia.

“I need to change to open the possibility of victories this year. So, the processes are there and I’m happy about what we are trying.

“I just need to be more focused on the lap time to be more on top.”

In his time in MotoGP, Zarco has ridden Yamaha, KTM, Honda and Ducat machinery, and believes the 2023-spec Ducati is the best bike he’s ridden in the premier class.

Johann Zarco, Pramac Racing

Johann Zarco, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

While noting that the bike is friendly to all riding styles, he has to make “another step” to be able to get to the level in which Bagnaia is riding the Ducati.

“Yeah, I would say,” he replied when asked if the GP23 was the best he’d ridden in MotoGP.

“Overall, when I see the other riders on the Ducati, how a different style can be fast, you are immediately on good pace.

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“Then to have the pace that Pecco is doing and be really fast, that is another step in confidence and feeling.

“But you can reach a good base and a good feeling immediately, and you can feel that the bike is helping you to do that.”



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