Luca Marini reckons that he can “fight for the podium every race” after another strong MotoGP race performance in last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.
The VR46 Ducati pilot secured his best premier class result to date at the Red Bull Ring after scything through the field from 13th on the grid to fourth, the Italian taking the chequered flag six seconds adrift of third-placed Jack Miller and eight seconds down on race winner Francesco Bagnaia – a result that also earned him victory for independent riders.
His latest run is the latest in a sequence of strong race performances since making a step forward in his long-run speed during May’s French GP, Marini racking up four top six finishes in the past half-dozen encounters.
Marini believes his recent upturn in pace proves that he can “fight for the podium in every race” going forward, and that he feels he just needs to clean up his opening laps to finally break his rostrum duck.
“My pace was really strong, unfortunately I started really far behind and it was not easy to recover the gap,” explained Marini.
“I had the medium rear so the first laps were difficult with grip, Joan (Mir) crashed in front of me and I lost time with some of the riders with the soft tyre because they could push harder at the beginning.
“When I was alone my pace was really strong and I think I could have fought for the podium, but unfortunately I was too late.
“We need to be happy with the result because we are growing and if I don’t have incidents in the first corner I am competitive every time, the last two races were like this and I think I can fight for the podium in every race.
“It was a really tough weekend and difficult for everybody, but we worked really well from Friday.
“The feeling with the bike was a bit of a rollercoaster because sometimes it was really good and then the very next session it would be really bad, it’s strange to understand why but we worked well and made the right changes on the bike.”
Marini added that he feels his “growth is really good” compared to his maiden campaign in 2021, where he managed several strong qualifying showings but struggled to match fellow rookie and team-mate Enea Bastianini in the races.
While conceding he hasn’t trail-blazed to the same level as fellow newcomers Bastianini and Pramac Ducati’s Jorge Martin, he reckons he has endured a “different journey” and now is being able to illustrate the progress he has made.
“My growth is really good and I am satisfied with my potential and riding, I think compared to last year I have improved a lot,” continued Marini.
“If you look at Jorge (Martin) and Enea (Bastianini) they have done a fantastic job, they are achieving great results and now one of them will be in the factory team so they deserve it.
“If I don’t look at them I think my growth is really nice, I’ve had a different journey in these two years in MotoGP with more troubles maybe, but I think I have the potential to fight for the top positions in the future.”