Advantage VR46? - Luca Marini and marco bezzecchi on the ducati GP22 in 2023
After a successful 2022 MotoGP season, the VR46 Racing Team had hoped to maintain factory support with the latest Ducati GP23 in the new season. However, things turned out differently.
Although Marco Bezzecchi will receive a newer bike after his rookie season on the outdated GP21, Luca Marini will lose the right to Ducati’s latest version of the MotoGP rocket.
Only the factory team and the Pramac customer team will receive the GP23. Both VR46 and Gresini have to fall back on last year’s outdated Ducati. So nothing will change for Luca Marini in the new season, the Italian will ride the same bike as last season – his big advantage?
The Italian already knows his next year’s bike inside out from last season, so he doesn’t need any time to adjust or get used to it.
Marco Bezzecchi during the Valencia test – Image provided by Motorsport Images
In 2022, the Desmosedici GP22 was the bike to beat and Enea Bastianini showed last year on his GP21 that races can be won even with supposedly outdated material.
Given the already high level of performance, it is questionable whether and to what extent the Desmosedici GP23 can be developed further, even a step backward is possible.
For Marini, it is clear that not having the latest Ducati is not necessarily a problem. The young Italian explains:
“I don’t know if Ducati will make a big step forward. But I don’t think so because the level of the bike is incredibly high. It’s difficult to bring something that improves the performance a lot. That’s why it’s not a handicap.”
The VR46 rider cites Enea Bastianini’s performance on the outdated GP21 as an example:
“We saw at the beginning of the season how Enea [Bastianini] did incredible things on the old bike. He was more competitive than us with the factory bike.”
Enea Bastianini took his first win in the season opener in Qatar – Image provided by Motorsport Images
The now Ducati factory rider won three of the first seven races. Can Marini achieve something similar in 2023?
For the Italian, it’s all about still tickling something out of his package. “I hope we can find a little more. It’s about one or two-tenths of a second.”
Qualifying poses the biggest problem for the Italian. Marini would like to see regular starts from the second row in the new season. “Then I will have a completely different race. The gaps are so close. We have to find a little bit.”
Gigi Dall’Igna seems to provide a little extra motivation. “Ducati will definitely bring a lot of new things during the season. Gigi [Dall’Igna] told me that if I have good results, they are available and they will support us.”
So for 2023, Marini’s goals are clear: “We have to be strong and sometimes be ahead of the factory riders so Ducati will give us something new.”