MotoGP 2023
Round 4

Nakagami Finishes In Top Ten In Baking-Hot Spanish GP

es Circuito de Jerez - Angel Nieto

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.

Nakagami Finishes In Top Ten In Baking-Hot Spanish GP

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.

Takaaki Nakagami
Takaaki Nakagami 30
The race was very demanding, and it was important to manage the situation considering the tire consumption, the temperatures, and the rest of the details. Overall I felt quite good, and despite wanting a better result, we've scored points and are always improving .

Stefan Bradl 6
HRC Team
We have done a really good weekend I feel, we have learned a lot and gathered a lot of data. Our expectations were realistic, our target as the Test Team was to do our work, go through our plan and we did exactly that. We didn’t make any mistakes; no crashes and we were able to score some points which is a nice reward. The most important thing was being here, racing, looking at the other Honda riders and also the other competitors. I was able to give a lot of feedback to the HRC engineers on where we are stronger and where we need to keep working to make improvements to be closer to the others. Racing together with these guys is where we are able to learn a lot and helps us with working towards the future. A positive weekend, thank you to my team for all their efforts. 

Iker Lecuona
Iker Lecuona 27
Repsol Honda Team
First of all I just want to say that this weekend was like a dream, to race the Spanish GP as an official factory MotoGP rider – and in the Repsol Honda Team, it’s a moment I have thought about since I was a kid. I need to say a massive thank you to HRC, Repsol and all of the crew here. Everyone worked so well and all of them helped me so much. Every time we got on the bike we went faster and felt better. In the race, for the first ten laps I was able to stay with the group but then I felt the front tyre drop a bit, I didn’t know how to manage it and I lost some time to the other riders. Then towards the end I understood more about the bike and the tyres and I was able to gain on Raul a lot. Maybe with half a lap more I could get him and get a point. I didn’t know there was a point on the table, but anyway it has been a great weekend and I am really happy. Thanks to everyone once again and now I get ready for the next WorldSBK weekend in Barcelona. 

Joan Mir
Joan Mir 36
Repsol Honda Team
The hot temperatures of the weekend made everything more critical, we are still working to understand the bike and overcome some limits. When I try to push I feel like I arrive at the limit and I lose the front, it’s a combination of the bike and my style. Fortunately we have the test tomorrow to work on it and I think we can improve our base setting a bit tomorrow. Looking at what Honda was trying with Stefan this weekend; I think there are some things which will help us, so I am optimistic for tomorrow. We are still in the early stages, just four races with this bike and we need to keep working to improve. 

Alex Rins
Alex Rins 42
We need to understand what happened during the race. I didn't feel good with the clutch and I crashed. The important thing is to analyse every detail to improve for the upcoming races. Tomorrow we’ll have a test and try different parts, so let’s be focused: we would like to take a step forward .

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