The first four races of the 2023 FIM MotoGP World Championship have been a steady rise for second year Mooney VR46 Racing Team Desmosedici GP22 rider Luca Marini. After a crash-filled outing at the season opener in Portugal, Marini took eighth place at Argentina, scored his first career MotoGP podium finish at the Circuit of The Americas, and rode to sixth place in Spain. Now comes Sunday’s French Grand Prix and the quirky 2.6-mile, 14-turn Bugatti-Le Mans circuit.
“With Le Mans it is very important with the weather,” noted Marini. “Everybody is hoping for good weather tomorrow with good temperatures. However, at Le Mans it seems like this is never possible, so we need to be smart and clever and ready for every situation and every condition because it is really important to be on top of everything here.. You really need to be very fast every time out. The fact we were fourth in the sprint race will really help us here.”
At COTA last month, Marini and his GP22 raced to the first premier class podium finish of the young Italian’s career.
“Yeah, it was a fantastic, beautiful feeling to get that podium,” smiled Marini. “ It means a lot of things. Personally, it was a reward for all of my sacrifice to get here to MotoGP. The whole Austin situation is nice for us because it is a different place and a different event compared to all the others. Also, the layout of the track there is very difficult and the rider can make the difference. This year I am feeling really comfortable and I feel like I’m in a great way with my bike. Also, the team has improved a lot when compared to last year. We made some good adjustments on the bike. It has been very nice to ride my bike everywhere we go this year.
“The level of MotoGP riders is incredible,” he noted. “Also, everybody has a very good technical package so every Sunday it can be a different winner. It’s really important to work well with your team and group from Friday morning in a positive way. You want to try and be fast in every condition and then on Sunday it is just yourself against the other riders and you need to be better than them. It’s not easy but every Grand Prix is different, so we can try. It is amazing. We are really racing at a really high level and I think that the riders have improved a lot compared to past years and it is fantastic to compete against these riders in MotoGP.”
Mooney VR46 Racing Team overlord, nine-time world champion and Marini’s brother Valentino Rossi proclaims that Marini has developed an amazing, highly competitive feel with the Desmosedici GP22. Marini agrees that his feel for the bike has developed significantly in his second year with the team.
“Yes, this season I feel better. I’m feeling really good with myself and with the training at home. My passion is growing — is a pleasure to be able to ride a MotoGP bike and doing my job in the sport is a beautiful feeling. That gives me the motivation to work hard every day to be a better MotoGP rider.”
How much better can things get? He’s feeling like the sky’s the limit.
“I feel like I can fight for the world title this year,” declared Marini. “It will be difficult — we need to see. The most important thing is to try to be fast everywhere and fight for the podium whenever there is the opportunity. And when it is possible, I want to try and win. Everything needs to be perfect to do that. We need to keep working to always make ourselves better.”
All things considered, Luca Marini is in a great place thus far in 2023. Cautiously optimistic and taking it all one step at a time, Marini is keenly aware that there is a globetrotting marathon before him.
“This season is crazy. We have a lot of races this season also with the sprint races. Our job became more difficult but we are ready and I think that when you enjoy what you are doing, it doesn’t matter how many races there ae because it’s pleasure to travel with my team. To spend time with them is great because they are like a second family. I really enjoy every moment and also this season I’m feeling great with the bike, so every GP has an opportunity for me to try and win a race or make a podium. Everything is set and good and 100-percent. With a little bit of luck, we are right there and we are getting closer every day.”