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Honda has dipped into its MotoGP concessions already to assist ailing Luca Marini

Gold & Goose

Honda has used up a quota of its permitted extra days of in-season MotoGP testing after hastily arranging a session between Rounds 1 and 2 in order to help Luca Marini get up to speed on its machine.

The Italian, who made the high-profile switch from VR46 Racing Ducati (owned by his brother Valentino Rossi, switches to the factory Repsol Honda Team in 2024 as the successor of six-time MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez.

One of two new faces in the Honda camp this year, together with fellow Ducati exile Johann Zarco, it was Marini who particularly struggled with his RC213V machinery during the opening round at Qatar.


Qualifying 21st - ahead of only Franco Morbidelli who missed pre-season testing and some 0.7s down on the rider ahead - Marini finished a comfortable last in the Sprint Race before finishing some 17secs down on the rider ahead in the full-length feature.

Luca Marini finished 17secs down on the rider ahead in the full length Grand Prix...

Though Marini insists he ‘deliberately slowed’ to run with Jack Miller (who’d fallen and remounted) in an effort to learn from the Australian, the Moto2 race winner - who started on pole position aboard the Ducati GP22 at November’s 2023 Qatar MotoGP round - seems to have set alarm bells ringing at Honda all the same.

As such, Honda arranged a one-day test at Jerez with just Marini and Stefan Bradl present in an effort to breed confidence on the RC213V before this weekend’s second round, the Portuguese MotoGP.

“The best thing we can do at the moment is keep riding, so of course it’s great to be heading to Portugal and Portimao,” Marini said ahead of the Portimao event. 

“It’s a track which is very different to where we have started the year so I am curious to see how the Honda goes there.

“We're in the process of developing the bike, working with Honda, gathering information at different tracks to improve. Our objective is to find a better feeling with the bike in order to be more competitive.”

Honda - along with Yamaha - have been granted concessions, which includes an allowance for private test days, for the 2024 MotoGP in an effort to bolster their competitiveness following a difficult 2023 season.

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