Unfortunately for Nakano, Aspar wanted a Spanish rider to please his sponsors and the whole project eventually broke down, ending Nakano's final hope of remaining on the premier-class grid.
A place as a test rider for any of the Japanese teams would have been possible, but Nakano believed he had plenty of racing potential left and chose to take on a new challenge in the World Superbike Championship - riding Aprilia's brand new RSV4 alongside Max Biaggi in 2009.
A fourth place during round two at Qatar indicated a potentially promising partnership, but Nakano broke his collarbone next time out at Valencia and also missed the following Assen round.
After his comeback, Nakano went on to claim a best of sixth place at Donington Park (round nine), before a neck injury during round eleven at the Nurburgring forced him to sit out the remaining three rounds and ultimately marked the end of his professional racing career.
Team-mate Biaggi took nine podiums, including one race win, on his way to fourth in the 2009 WSBK championship.