until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Nakagami: Easy to say Motegi was mistake – but I had no choice

by Simon Patterson, Josh Suttill
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

LCR Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami said it was “quite impossible” not to compete in his home Japanese GP despite a hand injury that kept him out of the following three MotoGP races.

Nakagami was riding with a “glove full of blood” at Motegi – the first Japanese GP since 2019 – and would qualify and finish last.

He rode at Motegi just four days after receiving surgery on his hand in Barcelona, with some suggesting he’d returned to riding too early.

Nakagami then skipped the next three races, but has returned for the Valencia season finale with the intention to compete.

“Easy to say after that but at the end, it’s my decision,” Nakagami said when asked if returning at Motegi was a mistake.

“I knew it was going to be very high risk for it getting worse. In the end, after the race I felt like something big happened.

“And it’s easy to say it was my mistake, [but] it’s quite impossible to stop doing the weekend, it’s my home GP, after three years of COVID it was finally my home GP.

“I had no option, I stayed on the bike and to finish the race, apart from the result, I’m quite happy.

“Then a really tough one month but I’m getting better, so I’m happy to be back, back on the bike and I want to enjoy the weekend and I have no stress, just want to enjoy.”

Nakagami added that he was able to stop taking painkillers for the injury three weeks ago and although the mobility in his right-hand is still not as strong as his left, things have headed in the right direction.

“The problem was the movement, day-by-day getting better, then one hour [after the surgery] and after next day in morning, I feel from zero,” Nakagami said when asked by The Race how long the recovery would take.

“All the bone is getting tight and very stiff. When I start movement, it’s getting better and better but everyday the same thing.

“I said to the team I cannot be in Malaysia because it’s pointless to go, I skip three races, then my target is to be in Valencia, I feel OK.”

Nakagami said he will ride in FP1 and “decide after the session” if he will take part in the rest of the weekend.

What makes Nakagami’s participation in the weekend even more important is the post-season test that takes place at Valencia after the race.

Takaaki Nakagami

This will be the last chance for MotoGP riders to test before the start of the 2023 pre-season next year.

Nakagami will once again have specially adapted gloves from his supplier Ixon.

“Yeah, because the fifth finger is a little bit bigger,” Nakagami said when asked if he’d have adapted gloves.

“So I already spoke with Ixon and they preparing special gloves for tomorrow because I cannot fit the standard size.”

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