2024 will see Luca Marini step onto the factory Honda RC213V in the iconic Repsol Honda Team. For the 26-year-old Italian, it’s a move full of opportunities and future growth.
Italian Luca Marini will become the 20th rider in history to wear the colours of the Repsol Honda Team as a full-time entrant. Joining the World Championship on a permanent basis in 2016, Marini claimed six wins, 15 podiums and five pole positions in the Moto2 World Championship before stepping up to the premier class in 2021. Improving consistently across his first two years in the class, a debut podium in MotoGP would arrive in Austin at the Circuit of the Americas, finishing second behind Alex Rins on the LCR Honda machine.
Signed to contest the 2024 and 2025 seasons, Marini joins Honda’s MotoGP project at a critical moment. He sat down after his first test on the Repsol Honda Team RC213V to reflect on how his career has led him to this point.
When did your passion for motorbikes start?
Marini: “I want to say this is something that was building inside of me year by year when I was a child. Just scooters, to try new things, and then I jumped on a pocket bike at four years old and it was like a game at the beginning. But then, I started to enjoy it a lot, even more, and then the bikes became bigger and bigger tracks and more speed. So, my passion also was growing a lot through the years. Arriving at to the World Championship was a dream come true.”
What is your first memory on a bike?
Marini: “I don’t have a lot of memories of my past, but I remember one time, one of the first times on the pocket bike, that I had like three wheels on the back. The first day balancing with my father we said, ‘okay today we try to put them away’ and it was a big day.”
Can you tell us more about the photos of you in Repsol Honda leathers as a child?
Marini: “This is something incredible, something made from destiny, I don’t know. I don’t remember very well why I had those leathers. I remember that I was really happy to have those colours because also in that period, in those years, were incredible, like every year in the MotoGP history with the Repsol Honda Team colours were incredible. So, it’s a very big pleasure to wear them now in MotoGP.”
Did you know you always wanted to be a rider?
Marini: “It was something that was growing inside of my head and from around 14 years old I decide, ‘okay this this could be my life, my job.’ I enjoy doing this a lot and I would like to have a job like this. When I was younger also, I was thinking on other sports, even other jobs because I was curious to try many different things and then it was just the one that give me more emotion.”
Can you tell us about your journey to join the World Championship?
Marini: “I started with the pocket bikes then Mini GP like the Honda NSF trophy with the 100cc four-stroke. It was also there a very good bike, very good moments, good memories and then jumped on a Moto3 bike. The Italian championship, in the CIV. Then in European Championship I started to become very tall, so I jumped on a Moto2 bike and after one year in the European Championship, I came to the World Championship. It was a good journey; I learned a lot and now I’m a better rider and better person also for all the steps that I made in the past.”
What has been your best on track moment?
Marini: “It’s maybe easy, but the first podium in COTA in America was just amazing, a very beautiful race – a beautiful place to take your first podium. So, I have very, very good memories, a moment full of emotions and is something that I want to find again, here with these colours.”
How did you come to join the Repsol Honda Team?
Marini: “It was a shock after Marc announced his change. So, me and my group, my manager, we tried to find a way to approach this new project and improve together and try to build a better bike, better performance, to come back and win races and win world titles. This is our goal, our target, so I am sure there will be very, very satisfying moments too.”
What made you want to join HRC?
Marini: “First of all, it’s the best in the history. Numbers and statistics speak for themselves, and it is a very particular moment now, but I think we have the power to come back very, very soon. I will try to give all my feedback, my energy to this project and I’m sure that we will find the correct direction we will have the power to stay in the top for many years.”
What is your goal for the 2024 season?
Marini: “I want to start with an open mind, we need to understand our speed, our potential after the first official test and we need to find our balance, find a way to beat our direct opponents which are my teammates, with the same manufacture, with the same bike – that is the first goal on my side, sure. But also, I want to look forward or to try to find a way to get a podium with this bike or get a victory. I know that maybe will be tough, but we need to look ahead.”
How was that first day inside the factory Honda Team in Valencia?
Marini: “It was amazing, passing in a very fast way and the day was already finished! But sure, that we will have a lot of time during winter, during the test, during the season to speak with all the members of this team because it’s full of people it’s just a dream work with all these people and also with Japanese. Well, I have a very good feeling I love the culture we can have a very good synergy.”