Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) made the very best of a challenging weekend at the scorching-hot Spanish Grand Prix, bringing his RC213V home inside the top ten.
The 31-year-old from Chiba rode his heart out, moving forward to make up for his fall in yesterday’s sprint race.
The race was stopped and restarted after a lap-one pile-up, adding to the already sky-high pressure for riders and teams. Nakajima rode brilliantly after the restart, pushing forward at one of his favourite MotoGP venues to take the chequered flag in ninth place, just ahead of 2012 MotoGP World Champion Fabio Quartararo.
This was Nakajima’s first top-ten finish of the year, following his tumble two weeks ago in the Grand Prix of the Americas, which was won in stunning style by Alex Rins (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V). Now Nakajima and his LCR Honda CASTROL crew look forward to making further steps forwards at the French GP at Le Mans two weeks from now.
That event will be historic – the 1000th World Championship Grand Prix since motorcycling’s global series started in June 1949 at the Isle of Man TT.
Honda’s next finisher was the company’s MotoGP test rider Stefan Bradl (Team HRC Honda RC213V), who deserved great congratulations for resisting so well in the incredibly gruelling conditions, with ambient temperature at 28 degrees and track temperature at 33 degrees. The 33-year-old German was evaluating new development solutions for the RC213V, which Honda’s full-time MotoGP riders will try in tomorrow’s all-teams test session here at Jerez. He crossed the finish line in 14th place, for two World Championship points.
Iker Lecuona (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) had his first weekend aboard an RC213V this weekend, replacing Honda’s six-times MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) who is still recovering from a hand injury sustained at last month’s season-opening Portuguese GP.
Riding a MotoGP motorcycle is never easy but trying to learn a MotoGP bike over a single weekend, during practice, qualifying and races is a monumental task. The 23-year-old Spaniard, who usually rides for the Team HRC World Superbike squad nevertheless approached the task with intelligence and commitment. At the end of the race he was place 16th, just one place outside the points.
A further announcement about Marquez’s physical condition will be made before Le Mans.
Today didn’t go to plan for Rins or for Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V). COTA winner Rins fell on the first lap, while Mir tumbled a few laps later. Thankfully neither rider was hurt.
The Spanish Grand Prix is always a hugely popular event with fans and today’s massive crowd made for an electric atmosphere. Now the paddock stays on the Continent for the next few months. Next up is the French GP on 14th May, then Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, Austria, Catalunya and San Marino, before the racing heads overseas again.