Another blow to Honda as Takaaki Nakagami forced out of Argentina MotoGP

Takaaki Nakagami joins Marc Marquez on the sidelines for the Argentina MotoGP after a positive COVID forces him to skip Round 3 of the 2022 MotoGP season

Takaaki Nakagami - LCR Honda

Takaaki Nakagami will miss this weekend’s Argentina MotoGP - Round 3 of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship - after returning a positive COVID test on the eve of the event.

With this weekend’s return to the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit marking MotoGP’s first visit to South America since 2019, Nakagami was heading to Argentina looking to kick start a lacklustre start to his 2022 campaign.

However, the scourge of COVID would come to strike the Japanese rider at a frustrating moment, leaving him to watch the action unfold for his LCR Honda squad on television.

“Unfortunately, I will not race this weekend in Argentina. I got a positive PCR test just before flying to Termas. I am really sorry for my team, sponsors and fans. I don’t have any symptoms and I am feeling good, I am just very sad and disappointed. I am hoping to be back on track in Austin for the Americas GP. Fingers crossed.”

With Round 4 to be held in the United States the following weekend, Nakagami could also find himself under threat for the Grand Prix of the Americas too.

He is the second Honda rider to be forced out of the Argentina MotoGP, following on from Marc Marquez, who is recovering from a fresh bout of diplopia following his high-speed accident last time out in Indonesia.

With Honda test rider Stefan Bradl coming into the Repsol team to replace Marquez, it means LCR Honda is likely to focus on a single bike for Alex Marquez this weekend.

The COVID setback comes at an inopportune time for Nakagami, who comes into the year needing to impress following a disappointing 2021 campaign. 

However, tenth and 19th place results from Qatar and Indonesia means Nakagami could fall out of favour with Honda bosses for 2023 in favour of the firm’s new Japanese protege, Moto2 podium winner Ai Ogura.