Marini: Recovery good, shoulder stronger

“What changed more is the feeling on the bike. Now I can do the left corners more similar like the right corners. I hope when I’m at 100 percent I will be great.”
Marini: Recovery good, shoulder stronger

Luca Marini remains hopeful of approaching full fitness for the first round of the 2019 Moto2 campaign after the Italian spent his winter recovering from surgery on a problematic left shoulder.

While testing at Jerez this week, the 21-year old admitted the joint, which had a propensity to dislocate when training or in innocuous falls, had been an issue for “two or three years”.

But following surgery last November, he has slowly regained strength. Long runs at Jerez were still some way off. But the speed was there. And more importantly Marini, who won his first race at last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix, feels a good deal more comfortable aboard the new Triumph-powered Moto2 machine.

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“I'm fast, but only in the lap time for now,” he said on Wednesday. “In the time attack, I'm very fast, but for the pace, we will see, because my physical condition is not perfect. I only did eight laps in a row; we need to do 23, so the target is so far away.”

Expanding on the procedure Marini said, “I don’t think there were complications [with the shoulder]. Also the recovery was good, following a good line without problems during all the winter. Just last week I was sick so I couldn’t train at home. I lost some days, but it’s OK.

“I’m very happy because what changed more is the feeling on the bike. Now I can do the left corners more similar like the right corners. I’m a little stronger on the right side. I’m feeling better on the left side. I hope when I’m at 100 percent I will be great.

“I did the surgery in November, so I need more time. The doctors said, after three months it will be OK, better to take five months. But I don't have time, so I need to try and push.

“The last two or three years were really difficult for me, struggling with the shoulder. There were some specific tracks where it was impossible to ride the bike well, taking painkillers all the time. I was tired of this.

“I hope this year will be better. At the beginning of the season I will not be at 100 percent but during the season I can go up and feel better on the bike.”

Marini ended the three-day outing in Andalusia with the fourth fastest time, and was consistently one of the names mentioned by his contemporaries as a name expected to feature among the title challengers.

Brad Binder, another fancied to be in the midst of the championship fight, noted how well Kalex’s ’19 chassis was working at Jerez. But Marini offered another view.

“It's strange, because I followed Binder, and I felt the opposite,” he said. “The KTM looks like a fantastic bike. Because he's riding very well Binder is very fast, very strong in every part of the track.

“So for sure Kalex is a good bike, like always. An easy bike to ride, perfect in every condition, and is much easier maybe. But KTM with Binder is doing a great job, much better compared to November, where it looked like they were struggling a bit more.”

This week’s action wasn’t Marini’s first on-bike action of the year. Kalex machines had a ‘shakedown’ test at Jerez the week before, but for the Italian that was just a chance to check his shoulder’s strength.

“In the shakedown last week, we didn't touch anything,” he said. “[I] Just ride, checked my physical condition, my body, my shoulder, and get the feeling back like in November. I was happy.

“[This week] we started the new work for the new season. We need to improve with the electronics, with Magneti Marelli. We have some new interesting things about torque, acceleration, and engine brake. We need to fix a little bit this area.

“And also the setup like always, with Ohlins and Kalex who bring new stuff every year. We need to understand the potential of the bike. So we tried different stuff, different setup to understand which is the best bike for me. But for now, I'm happy."

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