Nakagami hails maiden top five, best Japanese result since 2012

Takaaki Nakagami stars in the Italian MotoGP to finish as the top satellite rider and become the first Japanese rider to score a top five finish since 2012!
Nakagami hails maiden top five, best Japanese result since 2012

Takaaki Nakagami is celebrating a career-best result in the premier class as he became the first Japanese rider since 2012 to crack the top five in a MotoGP race.

Continuing his strong form so far this season on the 2018-specification LCR Honda, Nakagami took another big step forward this weekend with a comfortable Q2 position before making strong progress in the race day.

A particular pleasure for Nakagami having struggled to maintain consistent pace in race conditions, not only did he work his way up to fifth position to finish as the top satellite rider but he did so at the expense of the highest-placed factory Yamaha rider in sixth and even his own team-mate Cal Crutchlow on the current-spec Honda.

Marking the first top five finish for a Japanese rider since the 2012 Valencia GP when Katsuyuki Nakasuga finished second, Nakagami was delighted with his ‘sensational’ result.

“It was an amazing day and an exceptional race,” he said. “I showed up very incisive from the start because I know it's one of my weak points. During all my previous races after only a few laps, I had lost a number of positions and then I had to fight in the middle of the package until the end of the grand prix.

“But today, I was sincerely strong from the start of the race and I then tried to keep my place. At the end, I knew it was quite good that (Maverick) Vinales attacked to the fullest but I never wanted to give up anything and I fought hard.

“This is my best result as far as I'm concerned in the MotoGP category, I finished as second Honda pilot and this fifth place is simply sensational.

“I didn't expect it so much, it's a fantastic weekend and I sincerely want to thank all my team who has worked in a remarkable way throughout the weekend to bring me a particularly competitive motorcycle."