MotoGP News: Jake Dixon stays with GasGas for 2023; Nagashima replaces Nakagami

Jake Dixon is confirmed at the GasGas Aspar Moto2 team for the 2023 Grand Prix season; Tetsuta Nagashima will replace Takaaki Nakagami in Thailand.

Jake Dixon with pit board with "2023".

The GasGas Aspar Team has confirmed that Jake Dixon will remain with the team in 2023, while elsewhere Tetsuta Nagashima is set to fill-in for Takaaki Nakagami.

Jake Dixon stays with Aspar

Jake Dixon entered the Moto2 World Championship in 2019 with the team of Jorge Martinez ‘Aspar’ in the second of its two seasons under the ‘Angel Nieto Team’ guise.

A couple of years away at the Petronas Sprinta Racing setup came before Dixon returned to Aspar for 2022, its first season as the GasGas Aspar Team in the Moto2 World Championship. 

Dixon’s return to Aspar has been a positive one. He has scored several pole positions, fought for race victories, and finished on the podium. He currently sits eighth in the World Championship, which - if he remains there until the end of the season in Valencia - would be an improvement of 10 places on his previous best finish of 18th. 

It has also been a season of mistakes, though. He crashed out of Aragon, for example, on the final lap, and in Indonesia when fighting for the victory. But, the speed is there. The phrase “we can work with speed” is one which is used often in American motocross, and that appears to be the philosophy of the Aspar Team in their retention of Dixon for 2023.

Dixon’s confirmation at GasGas for the 2023 Moto2 season also puts him in a position to head up to MotoGP in 2024, in theory. 

From 2023, the Tech 3 team will become Tech 3 GasGas Factory Racing, and Augusto Fernandez’ contract with the French squad is only for one season.

But, it is not as simple as that, because there is the constant assumption that one of the four KTM seats for 2024 will be taken by KTM’s current ‘chosen one’, 2021 Moto3 World Champion Pedro Acosta, who has won two races in his rookie Moto2 campaign. 

Also working for Acosta is his nationality. GasGas is a Spanish brand and while KTM would no doubt like to have him in their Red Bull KTM Factory Racing setup at some point, a ‘loan’ to Tech 3 GasGas would make sense from a marketing perspective. 

They have employed the same strategy in the Motocross World Championship, for example, where Jorge Prado is GasGas’ lead rider in the MXGP class.

Jorge Martínez ‘Aspar’ said: “We brought Jake Dixon into the World Championship in 2019 and I must say that he has grown spectacularly in recent years. We are very happy to have been able to form a great team around him, which has allowed him to think only about competing and achieving the best possible result.

“This year we have celebrated some podiums with him, but next year he has to fight constantly to be in the top three. We are sure that he will be able to get it.”

Jake Dixon added: “I am looking forward to my third season with the GASGAS Aspar Team. I want to continue improving and evolving, in the race weeks that we have left this year and in the next season. 

“This year has been incredible, with four podiums, two pole positions and six front rows. We are just missing the first victory, but we don't have to be impatient because, working like this, it will come soon. In 2023 we will have to take a leap and fight for the title. 

“This year we have been fast, but we have to put into practice everything we have been learning to be able to fight for the championship. I want to do my best and I'm glad I can continue working together with my technical team. I want to thank the team again, for having trusted in me from the first moment and because together we can achieve great results.”

Nagashima replaces Nakagami

Elsewhere in the Grand Prix paddock, the LCR Honda Team has confirmed that Takaaki Nakagami will not be taking part in this weekend’s upcoming Grand Prix of Thailand. 

Less than two weeks ago, at the Grand Prix of Aragon Nakagami tore extensor tendons in his small finger on his right hand in lap one contact with Marc Marquez. Nakagami battled through the pain barrier at his home race in Japan, but without the motivation of a home crowd he will sit this weekend’s Thai race out. 

It is a similar situation to that which occurred in 2019, when Nakagami was still dealing with injuries sustained when he was taken out by Valentino Rossi at the Dutch TT by the time the championship arrived in Japan. 

Nakagami then, too, battled through the pain barrier in Motegi, before handing the LCR Honda over to Johann Zarco, who had quit KTM mid-season. 
This time, though, it will be another Japanese rider to take over the Idemitsu LCR Honda RC213V, as Tetsuta Nagashima replaced Nakagami’s #30 with his own #45. 

Nagashima is HRC’s Japanese test rider, and raced the last MotoGP race in Japan, where he crashed out. No doubt, he will be looking for redemption this weekend.

“First of all, I wish Taka well and I hope that he can come back as soon as possible,” Nagashima said. “I will try to do my best in his place for the LCR Honda Idemitsu Team.”