Takaaki Nakagami (Honda): “Rear wheel grip improved”

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LCR Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami is facing his fifth MotoGP season and is confident again after a “tough 2021” – especially thanks to the 2022 Honda.

Honda presented the entire motorsport program of HRC, two-wheeler and four-wheeler, for the 2022 season in Tokyo on Friday. LCR rider Takaaki Nakagami, who uses the winter break for a home vacation in Japan, was the only MotoGP rider from the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer on site. After the brief introduction on stage, the 29-year-old from Chiba was then asked to answer questions in the online press round. He switched on ten minutes late and immediately apologized politely: “First of all, I would like to say that I am very sorry that I am late.”

Then “Taka” began with a brief review of a challenging 2021 season, in which he only collected seven top 10 results and ended up in 15th place in the World Cup. He was fourth in Jerez, and the LCR Honda driver has to wait for the long-awaited first podium in the premier class.

“The 2021 season was pretty tough for us and of course for me too. I’ve had a couple of good races, but if I’m honest it’s been a pretty difficult season overall. I also had a lot of falls, it was a tough season for the whole team, but we never gave up, ”emphasized Nakagami. «The feeling on the bike was good a few times and above all we had the Jerez test at the end of the season, where we got the chance to test the new bike – and the potential is great, the first impression was really good. All Honda drivers agreed on this. So I’m really looking forward to this season, it will be my fifth MotoGP year. It’s time to turn it into a great season. “

In which areas did the new RC213V convince? «Last season we definitely had a lot of problems with the grip on the rear wheel, we tried a lot of things, but the problem didn’t go away. We had big problems on the qualifying lap and over the race distance. Then I had to take an additional risk and unfortunately had a few falls in the race and in training … It was really difficult, ”recalled Nakagami.

“The new motorcycle definitely brought a big improvement in terms of rear wheel grip, including the performance of the engine,” the LCR Honda man replied to the question. “Many parts on the motorcycle are an improvement, you can also see a big change in the shape from the outside. You can see that Honda is working hard. ”

“I believe in myself, I believe in Honda and that we will have a great season,” concluded Nakagami. “I wish all Honda drivers the best of luck.”

MotoGP test Jerez, combined times (November 18th and 19th):

1. Bagnaia, Ducati, 1: 36.872 min
2. Nakagami, Honda, + 0.441 sec
3. Quartararo, Yamaha, + 0.452
4. Zarco, Ducati, + 0.484
5. Bastianini, Ducati, + 0.530
6. Rins, Suzuki, + 0.551
7. Pol Espargaró, Honda, + 0.624
8. Viñales, Aprilia, + 0.750
9. Mir, Suzuki, + 0.762
10. Miller, Ducati, + 0.845
11. Alex Marquez, Honda, + 0.888
12. Morbidelli, Yamaha, +1,012
13. Brad Binder, KTM, +1,070
14. Marini, Ducati, +1,153
15. Dovizioso, Yamaha, +1,157
16. Oliveira, KTM, +1,213
17. Aleix Espargaró, Aprilia, +1,277
18. Martin, Ducati, +1,280
19. Di Giannantonio *, Ducati, +1.656
20. Raúl Fernández *, KTM, +1.819
21. Savadori, Aprilia, +1,852
22. Gardner *, KTM, +1.856
23. Guintoli, Suzuki, + 2,168
24. Pedrosa, KTM, + 2,313
25. Kallio, KTM, + 2,404
26. Bezzecchi *, Ducati, + 2,440
27. Darryn Binder *, Yamaha, + 3,069
28. Tsuda, Suzuki, + 4.064

* = MotoGP rookie

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