Nakagami ‘expected a bit more’ from Marquez swingarm test

Takaaki Nakagami struggled to feel an advantage when trying Marc Marquez’s new swingarm during Friday practice at the Catalunya MotoGP.

LCR Honda rider Nakagami has been given Marquez’s development parts following the Spaniard’s decision to undergo arm surgery.

While Pol Espargaro revealed on Thursday that Nakagami would have Marquez’s new chassis and swingarm, the Japanese only spoke specifically about the swingarm following the opening practice sessions in Barcelona.

“We have one standard bike and the other [has some new parts],” Nakagami said. “It’s the first time I tested the swingarm. To be honest, it’s not like magic. I expected a little bit more potential, like more grip or more turning or something [clearly] positive but… I don't know.

“It’s not negative, but the performance and feeling is very similar to the standard one. A little bit different in braking. So I cannot decide which one I will use this weekend. Also because conditions were not the best, so I cannot say which one is good.

“We need to analyse data, if we find a very positive area we can use these new items, but if not maybe I will come back [to] our standard and we can test again on Monday.”

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The RCVs again proved temperature-sensitive, Espargaro and Nakagami starting the day in fifth and sixth, but then slipping to 11th and 12th in FP2.

“Once again this afternoon the confidence on the bike was not the best and always struggling on mid-corner to exit, our weak point still,” Nakagami said.

“So we need to find a solution as soon as possible. Otherwise, like this is difficult for the race pace, but especially the qualifying lap.”


Pol Espargaro: I was surprised!

Having often struggled more than his rivals in low grip conditions, home star Pol Espargaro was pleasantly surprised by his Friday performance.

“Especially in the afternoon with the medium tyre, which I expected would be the worst moment of the day, I felt better than I expected,” Espargaro said.

“I was running third with race tyres and race temperatures and I did not feel so bad, so I was surprised.

“But then when we and everyone else put the soft tyre, we got back to the reality and we end up P11. So we know the homework for tomorrow. It's just to be faster with the soft tyre.

“Today I did my record best [practice] start ever. So in the race I think I can do a good start and recover some positions, but we cannot afford to start in the 4th or 5th row. That is way way too far away.

“So tomorrow, we need that fast lap. We need no mistakes.”

Nakagami’s team-mate Alex Marquez was 18th with HRC test rider Stefan Bradl, riding in place of Marquez, 23rd.

Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro’s older brother Aleix was fastest for Aprilia.

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