MotoGP: Luca Marini signs two-year deal with Repsol Honda

1 of 1

Repsol Honda have confirmed that Luca Marini has joined the team on a two-year deal following his departure from the Mooney VR46 Racing Ducati team.

The Italian has enjoyed his best premier class campaign to date in 2022, securing two Grand Prix podiums and a Sprint race podium on route to eighth overall in the championship standings. Marini had previously signed a new contract with the VR46 squad for the 2024 season before HRC approached him.

The reshuffle began when Marc Marquez announced his shock departure from Repsol Honda and yet another difficult campaign onboard the RC213V. His decision to join Gresini Racing Ducati for 2024 left Fabio Di Giannantonio without a ride next season, and the latter was another name linked with the vacant Honda ride.

Miguel Oliveira and Pol Espargaro were also linked with a potential move to the Japanese manufacturer, with Espargaro having endured his own tough two-year stint with Repsol Honda in the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

Espargaro opted to remain within the KTM setup as a test rider and frequent wildcard entrant after losing his seat at Tech3 to Pedro Acosta, whilst Oliveira stays with RNF Racing Aprilia.

Meanwhile, Di Giannantonio is expected to be confirmed as Marini’s replacement at Valentino Rossi’s Ducati team later today, with both he and Marini due to ride their new machines for the first time this Tuesday (November 28) at the Valencia Test.

Marini will hope to avoid joining the growing list of riders who have struggled to compete and been injured after joining Honda’s MotoGP project.  Three-time MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo was unable to adapt to the bike, with injuries leading to his retirement in 2019.

Alex Marquez, two podiums aside only stayed with the factory team for a single season before suffering two crash-heavy campaigns with LCR Honda alongside Takaaki Nakagami. Espargaro also crashed frequently onboard the RC213V, whilst Alex Rins broke his leg at Mugello this season and now joins Yamaha after a single campaign with Honda. Rins’ victory at COTA was the first non-Marc Marquez win for the brand since 2018.

Marini will race alongside Joan Mir in 2024. The Spaniard missed the season finale in Valencia at the weekend after suffering neck pain following a big crash during FP1 on Friday. Mir suffered a torrid campaign, securing only 26 points and missing several races through injury. The 2024 season is the last of his two-year deal with HRC.

For Rossi, Marini’s arrival at Repsol Honda means he’s connected to HRC for the time since his shock switch from the team to Yamaha in 2004. Rossi, half-brother to Marini, won three titles with HRC, one as an independent rider via the Nastro Azzurro NSR500 in 2001, and two with the factory team onboard the RC211V (2002 & 2003).

“Honda Racing Corporation are pleased to announce the signing of Luca Marini for the 2024 and 2025 MotoGP World Championship seasons,” the HRC statement reads. “The 26-year-old joined the premier class in 2021 after claiming six wins and 15 podiums in the Moto2 World Championship, finishing runner up in 2020.

“Since joining the premier class, Marini has taken two Grand Prix podiums, two pole positions and four Sprint podiums in 2023. He will join Joan Mir in the Factory Team on a two-year contract.”