Nakagami: The pain is incredible

Takaaki Nakagami battles 'incredible pain' from his damaged ankle ligaments during day two of the German MotoGP.
Nakagami: The pain is incredible

Takaaki Nakagami couldn't even take a step from his bike without the aid of crutches on Saturday afternoon at the German MotoGP.

The Japanese described the 'incredible pain' from ligament damage to his left ankle, the legacy of being brought down in Valentino Rossi's accident at Assen on Sunday, as like breaking bones at every corner.

"It's the first time I've experienced this kind of pain when riding," said Nakagami, who nonetheless made it through to Qualifying 2 and claimed tenth on the grid.

"Normally when you break some bones after surgery the only problem is the flexibility. but the pain is nothing. But now I have taping, some injection and pills, but it doesn’t help at all. Every corner I'm fighting the pain."

15th after Friday practice, Nakagami was feeling good on Saturday morning, but his ankle quickly deteriorated.

"This morning I felt good and, for the first time since Assen, I put shoes on and, although it was difficult, started to walk. But at the end of the FP3 session I felt that something was wrong, the pain was incredible, and after that the situation got worse.

"Before FP4 we did an injection to reduce the pain, but it didn't help. The flexibility is ok, but the biggest problem is that I cannot put any weight on it because the pain is so sharp. Really strong."

Unsurprisingly, Nakagami has real doubts about whether his condition will improve enough to complete Sunday's 30-lap race.

"Like this, maybe I cannot finish the race because after only 10 laps maximum I cannot hold on the bike. I mean the pain is incredible. It feels like every corner I broke the bones.

"So let's talk with the doctor, with the Clinica Mobile, because they are really helping a lot every day. I think I will need an injection and painkillers (for the race), but we’ll wait and see what our strategy for the race is.

"Anyway of course I will do my best, because there is only one day left and after that we have the summer break."

Nakagami defied the pain to snatch the second fastest lap time in Qualifying 1, knocking Andrea Dovizioso out of Qualifying 2, and has been especially quick through the fast-final sector all weekend.

"I'm really fast especially in sectors 3 and 4, but clearly I'm losing a lot in sector 1," said the Japanese, renowned for his highspeed-cornering on the 2018-spec Honda.

"I checked all the data from yesterday with Cal and Marc. I saw it's clearly different but I don't know how they did it, because I tried but I couldn't improve. In sector 1 they are minimum three or sometimes four tenths faster.

"I think I lose a lot on the exit of turn one and also through turn two. I tried many things but I can only improve by one tenth. So tonight there will be some big homework.

"The good thing is that in sectors 3 and 4 we are very strong. And the overtaking points are sector 1 and 4 at this track."

Nakagami is currently eleventh in the world championship, three points behind team-mate Cal Crutchlow, who qualified in sixth place.