The MotoGP training from Rossi’s under-the-radar brother

2021 was a quiet year for MotoGP rookie Luca Marini, because the VR46 Ducati rider made his debut in the premier class just as we expected – without much fanfare.

But with a solid year of learning, the 24-year-old looks forward to bigger and better next time.

The Italian has done this throughout his career: he has never let the world go up in flames, but very much someone who finds their way through hard work and study.

Marini follows the big (half) brother Valentino Rossi in his eager to learn approach to racing weekends. It’s common for Marini to be one of the last drivers to clear his garage after the session, and it’s not uncommon to see him clasped with a pile of timelines or sectors analyzed as he moves around the paddock.

And that’s reflected in his results in 2021, with a slow start outside of the points in Qatar, followed by a notable surge as he found his form.

He ended the year both as a consistent top 10 challenger and as the only driver to finish every single race of the season. It was the year many predicted for him – including Marini himself.

“I was more or less expecting this situation,” he admitted to The Race. “I would like to be a little stronger in the races because I feel like I could have done a little more there. But because of many situations, it was impossible to do more.

“Every weekend was a little better. When I look back on the whole season, it looks like this.

“I started quite a long way away, to be honest, then I started to improve. In the middle part it was a bit flat, but then there was a second improvement and I’m happy with that. “


Gradual improvement aside, there was still more than one standout moment for the rookie, with strong performances both at the Red Bull Ring and at home in Misano making some headlines.

“For example, I’m very happy with the result in Austria,” he said of his performance on the wet track on slick tires on the way to fifth place, “because I was lucky, but also courageous and focused not to make any mistakes do.

“But maybe Misano, especially Misano 2, were the busiest weekends of the year. I was able to be in the top 5 or 6 all weekend and finished ninth. It was a really good weekend and I’m proud of that. “

And while he might be happy with how the year ended, Marini says he’s even happier with what he learned – and is excited about the chance to bring the lessons of 2021 into play next year if he does from an old 2019-spec Ducati Desmosedici to a brand new, brand new 2022 bike.

“I grew in all areas,” he emphasizes. “It’s not a specific detail that I’ve learned better than others, but a personal development that was important.

“I didn’t expect that many changes from Moto2 to MotoGP, but it’s a completely different world.

“So now that I’ve understood a lot of things, it’s a lot better. I’ve improved a lot in so many areas and now I just have to work on the two or three little details.


“It was a positive season in which I have grown a lot both as a person and as a driver and I have really good motivation for the next year. The new VR46 Academy project can be a great thing and I hope that we can achieve great things with the support of Ducati.

“The goal of this season was more or less what we did. I wasn’t expecting anything special, but I think we can do something great next year. “

And of course the icing on the cake of this season was the fact that despite the 19-year age difference, he was able to share it with his brother – with some special memories for Marini and Rossi when one met and the other bowed out.

“It was a pleasure to share his final season with him,” he says. “I’m really proud to have arrived in MotoGP early enough to be able to spend some time with him on the track.”