Luca Marini’s sophomore season in MotoGP is going from strength to strength as the Mooney VR46 rider targeted the Spielberg podium on Sunday.
Coming home as the top independent rider, Marini claimed forth position, six seconds adrift of factory Ducati’s Jack Miller and half a second ahead of Pramac’s Johann Zarco after 28 laps of the 4.3km Red Bull Ring.
“I think that was a really tough weekend,” Marini said from Austria. “Strange, difficult for everybody.
“We work really well from Friday. The feeling with the bike was like a rollercoaster because sometimes was really good and next practice was really bad. So, really strange. I think that we made the correct changes on the bike and the feeling with the tyres were good. The tyre choice was perfect, so we worked well as a team and this makes me really happy because we don't have experience, where everybody's new here, and we need this first year for understand something.
"My pace was really strong. Unfortunately I was starting from behind and was not easy recover the gap and the first laps I had the medium rear so was difficult with the grip. I saw Joan [Mir] had the big crash in turn four in front of me, and I lose some time with the riders that have soft tyres because they can push from the beginning a little bit more than me. But then when I was alone, my pace was really strong and at the time I had the pace for fight for the podium but unfortunately I was too late.
“But we need to be happy with this result. I think that we are growing a lot and if I don't have incidents in the first lap, I am competitive every time. Just the last two races was like this and I can fight for the podium in every race.”
With his confidence growing, Marini heads home for the next Grand Prix as round 14 arrives at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, a favourite training ground of the VR46 Academy. Something he’s very much looking forward to and hopes he can profit from as the season continues.
“Yes, a lot, a lot," he acknowledged. “I think that my personal growth is very good. I'm really satisfied of my potential and my riding. I think that I improved a lot compared to last year and the year before.
"Just when we compare to Enea [Bastianini] and with Jorge [Martin, his fellow 2021 rookies], they made a fantastic job. They are achieving great results and now next year one of them go in the factory team so they deserve it. But if I don't look at them, I think that also my growth is very nice.
“I had a different journey in these two years in MotoGP, so I have more troubles maybe but anyway, I think that now I have the potential for fight for the top positions. This really make me happy and give me the push for work more every day and try to fight for the victory and the podium in every race in the future."