Marini will begin his third season in MotoGP next weekend in the Portuguese Grand Prix and remains with the Ducati satellite squad owned by his brother, Valentino Rossi.

The 25-year-old finished 12th last season in the standings with a best result of fourth on two occasions.

With his rookie team-mate Marco Bezzecchi scoring a podium in the Netherlands and a pole in Thailand, much more is expected of Marini in 2023, especially after a strong pre-season phase.

Asked if he was facing more pressure from his homeland to score bigger results in 2023, Marini said: “It’s better [this way], because to have the motivation to make a MotoGP race fighting [just] for 10th is not enough for all the sacrifice you have to do to be here and what you did in your career to be here when you were young.

“I want to fight for the top five positions from now to when I retire. So, I like to be with this pressure.”

Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

With Francesco Bagnaia ending the Portugal test last week with an unofficial lap record at the top of the timesheets, Marini says the reason the reigning world champion is a step ahead of all other Ducati riders is down to the fact his strong 2022 season means he has a good base set-up for every track.

“He made an amazing season last year, so every time he arrives in one track everything is prepared, everything is set at 100% because last year he was so strong,” Marini said.

“So, he started with a very good base. Now his bike is at 100%, with the 2023 bike they are happy and satisfied about the job.

Read Also:Marc Marquez: MotoGP's aero push "not good for the show"Rossi focusing more effort on Morbidelli than rest of VR46 MotoGP AcademyMiller: Bagnaia “a changed man” ahead of 2023 MotoGP title defence

“But especially on the electronics side, he has everything at 100%, while we need to work a little bit.”

Marini did have a factory-spec Ducati last season and will continue with the 2022-spec bike, after the Italian manufacturer trimmed its full works support down to four riders across its main team and Pramac.

2023-03-18T15:54:39Z dg43tfdfdgfd