Takaaki Nakagami says that his move up into the MotoGP class with the LCR Honda team is a dream come true.
The 25-year-old will join Britain’s Cal Crutchlow at the LCR team in 2018 and becomes the first full-time Japanese rider on the grid since the 2014 season.
Nakagami moves up into the premier class following four seasons in Moto2 with the Idemitsu Honda Team Asia outfit. Nakagami won one race in 2017, at Silverstone, and ended the season in seventh place overall.
You can find more more about Nakagami’s move to MotoGP in the following interview, conducted by his new team.
Please tell us about your passion for racing competitions (when it started, your first motorcycle and your first steps as a future professional rider).
“It all started when I was four-years-old and nothing changed till now. I think I immediately understood that I wanted to become a professional racer one day. My priority is enjoying the races and when the good result arrives I am very happy for my team. When I see my crew smiling and celebrating a good race it’s an amazing feeling for me”.
Why you are racing with number 30? Any particular reason?
“When I was 14 years old (2006) I was racing in the Spanish championship with the MotoGP Academy managed by Alberto Puig and he chose number 30 for me. I liked it and I decided to maintain this number in the future”.
Once you arrived in Europe you began your career as a professional rider. What do you like the most in Europe? Food? Culture? Girls?
“Honestly I like everything in Europe. Excellent food, interesting culture, pretty girls too! (laughing) But for the moment the food is my favourite part”.
After several seasons in smaller classes, what’s the feeling of being a MotoGP rider with Honda?
“Absolutely fantastic! It’s a dream that came true. I love everything of MotoGP. And once again I want to thank Honda for this incredible opportunity”.
What’s the most interesting aspect of the RC213V? What do you like most of your new bike?
“The power is incredible. Every time I jump on my new bike I can not believe the potential. And the thing I like most is the seamless gear”.
How do you train to get fit for the new bike? Any particular diet?
“No special diet at the moment, but I have increased my training to be stronger for this bike. In particular I need to strengthen my upper body so I daily practice gym, bicycle and swimming”.
Your expectations about the upcoming season? In the premier class there are three rookies including you. Who is going to win the Rookie of the Year Award?
“Of course it’s me! The Rookie of the year Title is doubtless my target for next season”.
How is your relationship with your teammate Cal Crutchlow?
“I have a great feeling with Cal. He has a lot of experience with the MotoGP machine. I think I’m very lucky to have him in the garage for next season. I will try to learn as much as possible from him. And he is also a very funny person”.
Last Sunday you were at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit for the Honda Thanks Day and you unveiled your bike for 2018. Tell us about it.
“Honda, Idemitsu and LCR prepared this special surprise for me and the new livery is absolutely fabulous. I am sure that all the fans liked it too! It was nice to spend the day with Marc (Marquez) Dani (Pedrosa) and all the HRC riders.
“I think that the Honda Racing Thanks Day is a unique event for our fans and their families because they have the opportunity to meet and greet their heroes. I can not wait to start the season with LCR Honda IDEMITSU Team”.