Rear grip improvement key to Jerez laptime – Takaaki Nakagami
LCR's Takaaki Nakagami says his MotoGP test-topping laptime on Thursday at Jerez was the result of rear grip improvements made to his 2018-spec Honda.
Nakagami ended his rookie MotoGP campaign 20th in the standings after amassing 33 points aboard the '17-spec RC213V, with the Japanese rider managing a best result of 12th on four occasions.
Remaining with LCR for next year, Nakagami has spent the four days of testing at Valencia and Jerez getting to grips with the bike teammate Cal Crutchlow rode to victory this year in Argentina, and ended the Jerez test 0.025 seconds clear of world champion Marc Marquez on the works '19 Honda.
Speaking after the final day of running on Thursday, Nakagami says he tried “nothing special” with the bike, and pinned his 1:37.945s lap on rear grip improvements.
“Nothing special,” the Japanese rider replied when asked what his test program consisted of.
“We tried to keep working to find the rear grip, same as on Wednesday. It's quite simple, back-to-back the rear shock and different linkages.
“But we are improving the rear grip, that's why we did the best time and really happy to see the P1, and the best way to finish the season.”
Building on this comment, Nakagami – who also finished the Valencia test eighth overall – says his pace this winter is down to a “combination” improvements with the '18 bike over the version he rode this season, and is also looking to “learn” from Marquez's “special talent” on the Honda.
“I think it's a combination [of things with the new bike],” he added.
“The chassis is the same, so just power delivery is a little bit different from the '17 to the '18, which is helping with top speed.
“This moment I didn't change so much the riding style. Of course, I tried to find in myself the limit, and I know that Marc has special talent.
“So I tried to learn from him, how he makes the laptime. So still I'm missing in braking stability, but laptime is good and still keep working on. But really looking forward to the next season.”