Nakagami boosted by copying Marquez's riding style

LCR Honda MotoGP rider Takaaki Nakagami has credited copying elements of Marc Marquez's riding style and set-up for his dramatically improved form ahead of this weekend's Andalusian Grand Prix.

Nakagami boosted by copying Marquez's riding style

Riding a year-old Honda RC213V, Nakagami qualified a distant 15th and finished 10th in last weekend's Spanish GP season opener at Jerez, albeit as top Honda rider as Marc Marquez crashed out and LCR teammate Cal Crutchlow was ruled out by injury.

But returning to the same track for the second round of the season, the Japanese rider has enjoyed a major upswing in form, finishing eighth in first practice for the Andalusian GP on Friday and then setting the pace in the slower afternoon session.

He backed that up with the fourth-fastest time in FP3 on Saturday morning, before topping FP4 and finally qualifying eighth, within half a second of poleman Fabio Quartararo.

Read Also:

Nakagami said on Friday he and his team spent time after the Jerez opener studying the data of Marquez, who won last year's title on the same spec of Honda, helped by the input of HRC technical manager Takeo Yokoyama.

After qualifying he went into more detail about what exactly he had been inspired to change.

"Last weekend I struggled, especially on Sunday, it was a disaster," said Nakagami. "We had to change completely the setting or riding, many things to understand what happened.

"On the data it looks completely on my riding and [Marquez's] riding are completely the opposite. That’s why I try opposite way and it looks more comfortable, and from FP1 I had a good feeling on the bike, much easier, using less energy on the bike.

Takaaki Nakagami, Team LCR Honda

Takaaki Nakagami, Team LCR Honda

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

"[There was] only one point that’s clearly different on the set-up on the bike. Not copy, but try a little bit Marc’s side of the setting which is good for the Honda.

"Just a little bit different set-up, but I completely changed the riding. I try Marquez's [style of] riding. I can’t completely copy it, but I try [to emulate] how he manages this bike.

"He knows very well how to use the rear tyre on the braking and how he manages, how to stop the Honda. This is clear, I can see in the data. He uses a lot of rear brake, he tries to stop the bike not only with front tyre, he tries to also stop the bike by [using] the rear.

"This is the strongest point and I try to copy Marc. I make a big improvement from entry to apex, this makes me more confident on the bike and [means] less mistakes. This is the reason why I’m getting faster and faster."

Nakagami admitted that "there was not really a big change" between the 2019-spec Honda he is riding and the '20 version after a troubled winter of testing for the marque.

Crutchlow sceptical of Nakagami's claims

Crutchlow, who is still recovering from injuring his right scaphoid in a crash in warm-up for last weekend's Jerez race, was asked for his opinion on his teammate's progress.

"He should win the race tomorrow!" Crutchlow quipped. "Because if you look at Marc's data and you can suddenly ride like Marc, you should win the race.

"You don't gain [all that time] by looking at data. Sure he might have gained some [time] on braking, he might look at the throttle trace, but you can't copy someone else's style.

"If you jump one second a lap in a weekend, it's in your head. It's not [because] you looked at some squiggly lines."

Additional reporting by Gerald Dirnbeck

shares
comments

Related video

Marc Marquez pulls out of Andalusian GP
Previous article

Marc Marquez pulls out of Andalusian GP

Next article

Marquez opens up on why comeback bid “became dangerous”

Marquez opens up on why comeback bid “became dangerous”
Load comments
The Rossi-less future MotoGP must now navigate Prime

The Rossi-less future MotoGP must now navigate

Motorcycle racing's greatest showman has left the stage, as Valentino Rossi calls time on his remarkable career on two wheels. But in his successors, all of whom were inspired by 'the Doctor', grand prix racing has vibrant new acts to keep us hooked

MotoGP
Dec 4, 2021
Valentino Rossi’s 10 greatest MotoGP races Prime

Valentino Rossi’s 10 greatest MotoGP races

As the Italian legend finally bows out and retires from MotoGP, it marks the end of one of the most incredible careers in motorsport history. Here is Motorsport.com's pick of his best rides and the stories behind them

MotoGP
Dec 3, 2021
How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race Prime

How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race

The 2021 MotoGP season may have only just ended but preparations for 2022 are well underway following a two-day test at Jerez this week. Ducati has hit the ground running while a lack of progress dominated Yamaha’s and world champion Fabio Quartararo’s test. While no battle lines have been drawn yet for 2022, it appears Ducati has already drawn first blood...

MotoGP
Nov 20, 2021
Why Suzuki's quest for a new MotoGP boss may be too late Prime

Why Suzuki's quest for a new MotoGP boss may be too late

Suzuki is on the search for a new team manager after its decision not to replace Davide Brivio at the start of 2021 was backed up by its unsuccessful bid to help Joan Mir defend his 2020 MotoGP world title. But whoever Shinichi Sahara appoints next, it may have already come too late to convince Mir to stick with the project

MotoGP
Nov 19, 2021
How Rossi got the perfect send-off to his MotoGP career Prime

How Rossi got the perfect send-off to his MotoGP career

The greatest chapter in MotoGP history came to a close at the Valencia Grand Prix as Valentino Rossi bid farewell after 26 seasons of grand prix racing. While his run to a strong 10th was a pleasing end to his time in MotoGP, it was what happened at the front of the grid that capped the Italian's ideal send-off

MotoGP
Nov 15, 2021
Why MotoGP's under-fire graduate has a point to prove Prime

Why MotoGP's under-fire graduate has a point to prove

OPINION: MotoGP-bound Darryn Binder was already under the microscope as his jump from Moto3 to join RNF's new top-class team was announced. But his crash with title hopeful Dennis Foggia caused significant consternation among the ranks - with many current riders suggesting the top level should be harder to break into as a result

MotoGP
Nov 9, 2021
How Portugal exposed the biggest threat to Quartararo Prime

How Portugal exposed the biggest threat to Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo’s first DNF of his title-winning 2021 MotoGP season couldn’t have come at a better time. But the events of the Yamaha rider’s Algarve Grand Prix exposed the M1’s well-known major weakness, which could threaten his championship defence given the increasingly Ducati-heavy makeup of the grid heading into 2022

MotoGP
Nov 8, 2021
What's really fuelling junior bike racing's dangerous aggression Prime

What's really fuelling junior bike racing's dangerous aggression

The pressure shouldered by young riders is at the root of the increased on-track aggression seen in lower categories of late, which motorcycling's governing bodies want to curb with new rules. But will stopping under-18s from racing in the world championship and capping grid sizes prevent the often desperate acts of youths pursuing their MotoGP dreams?

MotoGP
Nov 2, 2021