MotoGP: Takaaki Nakagami looking to bounce back at Valencia
It was a dream which turned into heartbreak for Takaaki Nakagami at the Teruel race, taking the first Japanese pole since 2004.
Every race so far in 2020, Takaaki Nakagami has made a step forward and the Teruel round was no exception, taking P1 in many of the free practice sessions and then pole position ahead of Sunday’s race, the first Japanese rider to take a premier class pole position since Tamada at Valencia 2004.
On Sunday however, it was not to be as Nakagami crashed out on Turn 5 on the opening lap in a rare mistake from the Tokyo racer, he has put the crash down to pressure given that he had a huge weight on his shoulders with his countrys eyes on him, looking at him to do the job.
He entered turn 5 too fast on a wide line, the line he was on had no grip, whereas 1 metre to his left there was rubber and lots of grip but because he entered the corner too fast, he missed the grip and went down like a tonne of bricks to the sadness of many.
Talking about his race he said, “I was not expecting to end up in the gravel, I am very disappointed, this weekend we had a great performance from FP1 and we are in the zone, before the race we believed we could win the race.”
“There was a lot of pressure, I tried to avoid it but in the end, I fell – I could not control this well.
I have never had a chance to win a MotoGP race so did not understand the pressure, I felt too much pressure and could not control the pressure mentally and made a mistake, maybe if I can improve this, the future will be bright. If I make the same mistake again then it is over.” An incredibly sharp but accurate statement, he is a MotoGP rider and is there to win races, if he cannot handle the pressure of winning races, why should he be there? It is a valid point from him, however, he has proven he is more than fast enough to win, plus the #48 and #74 he wears is more than enough motivation for him.
“It was a good start and I tried to close the door in turn 1 and stay in P1, but I was too fast into Turn 5 and had too much speed and lost the front.”
“I am very disappointed how today ended but this is life and racing so I need to be strong, I never give up so I will be strong in Valencia.”
“The bike was fantastic and felt so good, I am waiting for another chance in Valencia, the track is good for Honda’s bike so I need to be strong and concentrate and not make a mistake.”
He is clearly not letting today get to him, knowing he has more chances in the future, especially with his new Honda contract which does not have an expiry date on it for the time being.
Featured image – LCR Honda