Breakthrough podium has Marini hungry for win

Luca Marini

Luca Marini scored a maiden MotoGP Sunday podium at the Grand Prix of the Americas in Texas with an impressive ride to second place.

Marini, seventh in the Sprint race on Saturday, managed his pace at the start of the 20-lap race before upping the ante to progress through the pack.

He dispatched Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo to move into second place behind Alex Rins after Francesco Bagnaia crashed out of the lead, but Marini settled for a safe runner-up spot after he was unable to bridge the gap to Rins.

The Italian rider, who is Valentino Rossi’s half-brother, was on the rostrum in the Sprint race in Argentina, but his second place at the Circuit of the Americas was his debut podium in a full MotoGP race on the VR46 Ducati.

“I knew today could be a very good day for me because I was really strong in this track,” said Marini.

“Me and my team did an amazing job, we prepared this weekend very well. About the race, I knew that after the mistake during the start of the Sprint race I needed to stay calm, and wait at the beginning in the first laps.

“Jack [Miller] and Fabio [Quartararo] overtook me and they were smart, they pushed a lot at the beginning, but then I knew that I was faster than them.

“I tried to manage the tyres and bring up my pace,” he added.

“When Pecco crashed I thought that the victory was possible, so I tried to overtake Fabio soon, quickly, and tried to catch Alex, but at the beginning of the race he gave me too much of a gap and it was impossible to recover it.

“So, on the last three laps, I just managed [the race] to arrive at the end.”

Only 13 riders finished the race after a raft of crashes, but Marini said he was surprised by the number of fallers and did not feel the race was unusually demanding.

“It was a shock to see how many riders retired or crashed, but for me it was not so demanding because, okay, I think today it was a little bit colder than yesterday and it was easier, and we made a fantastic job,” he said.

“The feeling with the bike was very good and also my physical condition is perfect, even if I tried to make a mess yesterday morning with a very high speed crash; I have some scratches but everything is fine.

“It’s fantastic and I knew that this season could be [a good season] because we are really strong, the bike is fantastic and also the team is very good.

“I’m working with a lot of great people and I love to be in this group, so I hope to continue like this with this kind of result, me and Marco [Bezzecchi] this season.

“I hope we can fight for the victory as soon as possible.”

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